Omar Upegui R.
on Feb. 15, 2011 :
I was fortunate in meeting Richard S. Philbrick in person one lazy afternoon in Panama City. We had exchanged comments on my blog and it was the first time of meeting the man in bone and flesh.
We went to a nearby park and started with small talk about Panama, then Richard started telling me stories about his stay in a small town in France called Antibes and his girlfriend Florence.
Right then and there, I knew I was before an outstanding story-teller and maybe a writer. I was right about both assumptions. Richard is an outstanding storyteller and a one-of-a-kind writer about seafaring activities.
Last week I finished reading his book, "Despair! The Ill-Fated Fourth Voyage of the Admiral of the Ocean Sea". It was a wonderful experience, since I'm inclined to History-oriented literature. I savored the book like drinking good aged wine.
Last night I finished reading another one of Richard's digital books, "Sailing Alone to Isla: A Nancy Dawson Adventure". It was a small book that you can finish in a wink of an eye. Mostly it's about the experience of a sailor aboard a small sailing boat traveling from Key West in Florida to Isla Mujeres in Mexico. In Richard's own words, the journey covered 355 nautical miles at 2.13 knots per hour or 2.44 mph in an automobile. After sailing six days and 12 hours he arrived at Isla Mujeres in Mexico as scheduled. He was 50. What a way to celebrate a birthday.
The book is full of technical sailing terms that were kanji characters to me, (e.g., dowsed the jib, vang, dodger, zephyr, genoa, genny and so on). I developed calloused fingeres pressing the dictionary button, but I wanted to know exactly what Richard was doing on his beloved Nancy Dawson.
I love Richard's writing style. Direct, and to the point, without beating around the bush. The descriptions of the scenes are amazing. His narratives are better than a real photograph; they are that detailed and descriptive.
This is a taste of his writing style on this book: "As night closed in and the sun left a gold and crimson trail across the glass tabletop of the sea, I was pleased there were no lights aside from the millions of stars in the sky, and I plowed straight ahead."
I was taken off by the sudden change of the font sizes. They went from normal to big and back to normal again. I thought I needed a new pair of glasses, but maybe it's a mistake made by the publishers. It should be corrected.
For your information, I used Kindle for PC application to read Richard's digital book.
Richards feel like a fish in the water when sailing a boat anywhere on the globe. He worked for 18 years as a U.S. Coast Guard-licenced captain on yachts and small commercial and another 15 fixing and painting them.
He grew up in Cape Cod and is now retired living in the Republic of Panama.
If you like sailing and enjoy the ocean, you will appreciate this book written by Richard S. Philbrick. There is one big problem with this book, I would not leave out of this review---the book was too short.
I'm looking forward for another book from this sailor now living on mainland. I think he's working on one even as I write this review.
(reviewed 29 days after purchase)