I just finished the first book that John Kretschmer wrote, Cape Horn to Starboard. What a great book about bluewater sailing on a small boat; in one of the most dangerous places on the planet- Cape Horn, Chile. Written soon after his record-breaking trip (1984) and published by Burford Books, this 147 page book was something I couldn’t put down, as fast paced and gripping as it was. Prior to this historic trip however, the book goes into some detail about how John Kretschmer came of age, got his start in small boats and tried to run a Navigation School for profit. It’s also walks the interested reader right through the background story on Gigi, the smallest boat in history (at the time) to double Cape Horn. As per the author, it isn’t a day-to-day recounting of the trip from his logbooks or from factual documents, but more general situations that he and the crew encountered as major milestones during the trip. The seminal events are enough to get anyone’s attention and keep you wondering how they survived and kept sailing. But they did it, and sailed into the record books at the time as the smallest boat ever to “Double the Horn” (sail the wrong way around it, into the wind, into the waves, into the current). The book is obviously written while he was still married to his first wife (his girlfriend and steady crew throughout the book, whom he marries in Chile), and prior to his steady state offshore work as a Delivery Captain. I was so excited to read this book, as I’ve read both of John Kretschmer’s other books, loaned them to a friend and have now bought both those books again to re-read them.
So, if you’ve ever dreamed of sailing Cape Horn or doing long distance sailing on a small boat on the NON tradewind Routes, this might be a great read for you. Or, if you just want to know what it’s like to sail a small boat in horrible cold weather, this is a great read that you won’t put down. If you’re interested in reading about the great man himself or want to see what he’s up to now, check out his website: www.yayablues.com. Or you can take a look at his wife’s website: travelswithtadjji.
Disclaimer: By following the link to Amazon you can buy the book but this is NOT the reason for the book review. I read books about sailing, cruising, adventure travel and survival for the fun of it and often will review them here on my blog.