Saturday, February 18, 2012
The Voyage of Storm Petrel (Book One) by Clarissa Vincent
A signed copy of Clarissa Vincent’s book was given to me by the author when I had the privilege of meeting her on a very cold day, early in February, 2012. Her yacht, ‘Storm Petrel’ had been advertised at Ebay, and I was interested in the possibility of buying her. As I examined the boat in detail, an extremely cold wind from the northeast whistled across her decks. My hands were numbed and my eyes streamed tears that nearly froze on my cheeks.
When I had completed my appraisal of the yacht I decided SP was not for me, but for someone who was prepared to spend a fair amount of time and money into bringing her back into shape, she could be a worthwhile project.
As soon as I returned home I delved into Clarissa’s book, the first of a two part account of a voyage from Bristol to Gambia and back. Immediately I knew I was in for a treat, and having sailed alone across the Bay of Biscay, I could appreciate the more her achievement. I am indebted to Clarissa for her colourful and detailed descriptions of events as they unfolded. She has the most remarkable eye for detail and a penetrating insight into human behaviour, no doubt refined by her academic studies in sociology at Bristol University.
Clarissa is tactfully honest in her opinions of the people she meets and the places she visits. She is equally honest about her own motivations and her own doubts at the outset of her voyage. She stands to one side as an observer, a camera that does not lie. She reveals what is important to her and does not hide her feelings, whether for the state of an animal in need or her concern for an aged yachtsman unable to maintain his vessel. She shows herself to be a woman who respects the views and customs of others. She understands that people need their own privacy, and in no way would she impose her views or presence upon them.
Of all the voyaging books I have read, I have not found one that reveals so much about the author. She is passionate about geckos, lizards, stray cats and dogs. She has an engaging style of writing that has the reader wanting to learn more of her adventures as they unfold. I couldn’t put the book down, except by reasoned argument in that I had to find sleep.
This is a paperback comprising 296 pages of tightly packed text with 28 pages of charming black and white illustrations drawn by the author. (ISBN 9781456516222) It is available at Amazon.co.uk and also through Kindle publications. I would recommend this book as well worth reading. You’ll come away with an extended vocabulary and a better understanding of what yacht cruising should be about. You’ll be a bit more caring for fellow human beings.
Thank you Clarissa,