Sea Change: 4alone Across the Atlantic in a Wooden Boat

Peter Nichols, Author Viking Books $23.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-670-87179-7
""The leak and I are in a race to dry land,"" Nichols writes one month into his single-handed voyage from England to Maine in a 27-foot, wooden sailboat. Lovingly restored over five years with his wife, J., Toad represents to him both a home created and a love that failed. As the leak increases mid-ocean and the reality of the miles left to travel in an increasingly unsafe craft grows clearer, Nichols recalls his years with J. and who he was before them. The two had lived aboard Toad in the Virgin Islands, chartering to tourists when they needed money, and Nichols recalls the sighs of envy at what to others appeared an idyllic existence. But their companionship was far from idyllic, something that hits him full-force when in the middle of the Atlantic, Nichols finds J.'s diaries. Despite rising waters belowdecks, Nichols, buoyed by faith in his little ship and in his ability to navigate, refuses to believe that he will not make shore. Until knee-deep in water, he hesitates to radio a Mayday. With the massive container ship that will rescue him approaching, ""the size and appearance of a mall nearing the end of construction,"" the reader wants to scoop Toad out of the vast, impersonal sea, so clearly has Nichols portrayed his home as a living thing. The ultimate reward of a challenge, Nichols learns, need not be what one originally aimed for. Must we cast ourselves offshore to discover ourselves? The metaphorical message here is, yes. BOMC alternate; author tour. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/02/1997
Release date: 06/01/1997
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FORMATS
Paperback - 978-0-14-771262-2
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-14-026413-5
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