Monday, April 14, 2014
Yesterday, three newspapers -- the Providence Journal, New London Day and Richmond Times-Dispatch -- ran reviews and/ or stories about Rescue of the Bounty, all completely favorable. One could easily get puffed up by that much attention, if one were not already a fine example of puffed-uppery. Bringing me back to earth is the rejection I got Friday from the Washington Post Style Section, where the editor, Eva Rodriguez, was initially enthusiastic but, in the end, had to say that the "resources" were not available at that lofty citadel of strong journalism to do the story I had suggested. The Post non-fiction book review editor had already said thanks but no thanks. So we push on, seeking the key to open the main gate of best-sellerdom.
Monday, April 7, 2014
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
In those last days, when the lump of plaque, dislodged from elsewhere, has snagged the inside of the carotid, leaving me with but infrequent bursts of lucidity, I would arrange now if I could to have this memory rise from time to time. There is much connected to it. Monica and I had, a week or so before, successfully completed the race back from Bermuda to Newport, RI. It was a fantastic voyage, with everything we could have wanted -- dead calms, rough storms, incredible sunsets and sunrises. She had to return to her desk, her job. But my job was aboard Robin, and so I headed for Maine for two weeks. The day before I would point Robin down Penobscot Bay, I sailed from Castine on a westerly course to Belfast. At first, there was no wind. Then I passed north of Islesboro and a whisper of air began playing with the raised mainsail. In a short time, Robin was sailing on a beam reach, her autopilot steering, her rig perfectly balanced. I was a passenger, bathing in the afternoon sun. Breathing was shallow, delicious draughts of air, flavored by the saltwater, tucked into my nostrils and, held but a moment, expelled for yet another greedy sampling. Robin's pulse was slow, her motion on the small waves reported in delicate splashing about the bow. It lasted about an hour, probably more than enough to bring a smile to my face in that fog to come.
Monday, March 10, 2014
The following is the review of Rescue of the Bounty published by Booklist, the magazine of the American Librray Association. We re pleased. When a coast guard C-130 and its crew members set out over the Atlantic into “Frankenstorm” Sandy in a nighttime sea rescue, they came upon a startling sight, “a big pirate ship in the middle of a hurricane.” Built in 1960 for the film Mutiny on the Bounty, the aging tall ship had been featured in two Pirates of the Caribbean movies and was now attempting to make its way down the coast from Connecticut to winter dockage in Florida. In the raging waves and wind, the Bounty began to fail, and despite the efforts of its seaworthy but sparse crew of 16 women and men, it was sinking. Coauthors Tougias (Overboard!, 2010) and Campbell superbly re-create the disastrous voyage, providing just the right amount of detail to bring every character involved in this dramatic tale to life, from Bounty captain Robin Walbridge and his shipmates to the brave coast guard rescue swimmers. A thrilling and perfectly paced book, Rescue of the Bounty is filled with good intentions but bad decisions, tall-ship history and current usage, and the roar and taste of the storm-whipped ocean. — Eloise Kinney
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
At this late point in life, I still have a lot to learn. Fortunately, I have wandered into a realm where many lessons are offered. In November, I was asked if I wanted to be commodore of our little boat club, the Red Dragon Canoe Club. Since the alternative was to keep being the club's secretary, which demanded that I keep notes of the organization's meetings and make them available to the members, and since I really didn't want to continue my three-year occupation of that post, I accepted the offer. The club is in the midst of attempting to find its way forward, a task that involves a choice of keeping and restoring our historic clubhouse -- a post-Civil-War mansion that is in disrepair -- or abandoning it one way or another. There are 90 memberships in the club. A membership can be held by an individual or a family. There are probably more than 90 opinions as to the path we should take. I had heard of "cat herding" before I took office in January. Now I truly know what that means. Since there is no right or wrong answer to the problem -- only strongly-held views -- it is more than difficult to do a fair job of leading the club members. Added to this overriding concern, the harsh winter has brought its own problems: A downed power line that hasn't been fully repaired, leaking toilets that have tripled our water bill and the desires of separate members to do this or that with the club property. I'm not certain that I am, at this point, learning. Tomorrow night we have a monthly meeting of the members, and that will amount to the first true exam. I'm spending today cramming for it.
Monday, March 3, 2014
The big news for our book, Rescue of the Bounty (available April 1) is that the first review is in, and it is a good one. You can read it below. "KIRKUS REVIEWS In October 2012, out of New London, Conn., bound for St. Petersburg, Fla., a single tall ship sailed into the path of “the largest storm in geographic spread ever forecast.” “Well…it looks like a big pirate ship in the middle of a hurricane.” The Coast Guard pilot looking down on a churning sea and the embattled Bounty could be forgiven for thinking the scene something out of a movie set. After all, the ship sinking 90 miles off Cape Hatteras was an expanded replica of the famous three-master constructed for Mutiny on the Bounty, and it had been featured more recently in two of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Tougias (A Storm Too Soon: A True Story of Disaster, Survival and an Incredible Rescue, 2013, etc.) and Campbell (Eight Survived: The Harrowing Story of the USS Flier and the Only Downed World War II Submariners to Survive and Evade Capture, 2010, etc.) review the ship’s 50-year history, sketch the backgrounds of the sailors aboard and offer an excruciating moment-by-moment look of the four-day voyage that killed one crew member and the captain. Relying primarily on sworn testimony from the Coast Guard’s formal investigation, the authors identify a number of factors that contributed to the disaster: a rotting hull, seams improperly caulked, inadequate bilge pumps, a largely inexperienced crew and the lack of any professional weather router. Culpability, however, rested finally with Capt. Robin Walbridge and his reckless decision to set sail: “The boat’s safer being out at sea than being buckled up at a dock somewhere.” Notwithstanding this huge miscalculation, the authors offer a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of the captain, crediting his compassionate manner and the respect and loyalty he inspired. Finally, they devote a thrilling portion of their narrative to the courageous Coast Guard rescue and the almost incredible efforts of the pilots, hoist crews and swimmers who headed straight into Hurricane Sandy. A taut recounting of a needless maritime tragedy. https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/michael-j-tougias/rescue-of-the-bounty/ "