cover image Blue Water, Green Skipper: A Memoir of Sailing Alone Across the Atlantic

Blue Water, Green Skipper: A Memoir of Sailing Alone Across the Atlantic

Stuart Woods. Putnam, $26.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-399-16111-7

Originally published in 1977, novelist Woods's first book tells the true story of the author's journey to and participation in the 1976 Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic Race (OSTAR). Originally from Georgia, Woods was living in Ireland and working on his first novel when he decided to try his hand at sailing. With a small inheritance from his recently deceased grandfather, Woods commissioned the building of a boat, the Golden Harp, and set about getting ready for the race. The author describes designing the yacht, and discusses other aspects of the preparation for the OSTAR, like seeking sponsors and completing a trial competition from Portsmouth, England to the Azores. Though he was technically disqualified, his performance gave him the confidence needed to attempt the OSTAR. The final chapters detail the drama of the big race, including a loss of electricity just a few days in, a fear of running out of water, thunderstorms in the Gulf Stream, and the unfortunate deaths of two competitors. The passage ultimately took 45 days to complete. This new edition features an afterword in which Woods (Chiefs) reflects on what the race meant to him, and shares other sailing experiences. Casual readers will enjoy the adventurous portions of the tale, but sailing aficionados will get the most out of Woods's journey. (Aug.)