The Boat Who Wouldn't Float
Farley Mowat

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Having been a custodian for a heavy old teak schooner that could absorb more water in a day than you could believe, I believe that sometimes I wouldn't have been able to keep working on tightening her up if it wasn't for this book.  When ever I was depressed about our progress with her, I'd read this book and say "Well at least I'm not as bad off as this poor bastard."  That schooner was probably the biggest mistake we've made in life so far.  She was just too big for us to both maintain and sail.  Similarly though Mr. Mowat's schooner was much smaller I'm sure he learned a lot about what he wanted in his next boat and, as can be seen in this pretty much true tale, can at least look back on her with humor.

To me the central message of this book is that there are plenty of really great boats out there that you will love dearly.  Don't let a weakness for "romance" encourage you to buy a boat which is either too big or needs more work than is just a lot of fun to do.  It is way to easy to buy a boat which turns out to get more out of you than you get out of it.  Being on the water need not be expensive.  Certainly the entire amount that Nannette and I have spent in a life around the water and many years of living aboard is a fraction of what many people spend on one boat which they use only occasionally.

I think for many people reading this book will be like a vaccine against romanticism.  Obviously a very practical person who can buy a boat without the involvement of a lot of Newfoundland home brew and a sober careful look at what he or she is buying will not have the adventures that Mr. Mowat did, but they will probably be a good deal happier and more comfortable with their travels.

Remember "excitement" and "adventure" are generally what happens when things go wrong.  Reading this book may, with luck, inoculate you with the desire to avoid both of these words, and it is frankly a hell of a read, as long as you don't die laughing with the poor bastard. (243 pages) (tm)  $5.99

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