Donald Brands

Biography

Boats and the sea have been my life. I think I was about eight years old when I got my first boat, a dilapidated canoe. A few years later I graduated to a healthier canoe with a lateen sailing rig. This was my first sailboat. I capsized it a lot, but had thoroughly caught the boating bug. I started racing sailboats by the age of 12.
In 1968 I joined the Coast Guard at the age of 17 and was discharged in 1975 with the grade of First Class Quartermaster. My first tour in the Coast Guard was an oceanographic trip to Africa on the CGC Rockaway. It was a three month tour with most of the time at sea, but it was my first adventure out of the country and I loved it. My second oceanographic tour on this ship took me to the Barbados, Trinidad, the Bahamas, and Puerto Rico. Later in this hitch I was transferred to the CGC Lilac, a triple expansion steam buoy tender, a fugitive from museums built in the early Thirty’s. I believe it is now being refurbished in NY City for display in the near future. I returned to the CGC Rockaway to finish my first hitch and made a Cadet cruise to England.
Discharged from the Coast Guard on Oct 22, 1971, I returned to England for a 3 month tour by bicycle. In January of 1972 I rejoined the CG and reported aboard the buoy tender CGC Firebush at Governors Island NY. In the summer of 1972, I took leave from the CGC Firebush and enjoyed a two week cruise along the south coast of England with a British friend on his 27’ Trident class sloop. This was a bilge keel rig that proved to be fairly important in an area with 30 foot tides. Many times at low tide we were aground, but vertical resting on the two keels.
After returning stateside to the CGC Firebush, the wanderlust hit me again and I requested and received a transfer to the CGC Gallatin which was making a cadet cruise through Europe. On this trip I got to Gibraltar, Portugal, Germany, Denmark and England. In 1974 I bought the Chesapeake Skipjack "Pale Moon" and sailed it from Maryland's Eastern Shore to NY for Opsail '76. Throughout this period I was involved in one design racing.
Since my discharge from the Coast Guard in January of 1975, I have been working on large seagoing tugboats and currently hold a 1600 ton Ocean Master's License as well as Unlimited Third Mate and an Unlimited Radar Observer endorsement. Additionally, I hold a certificate from the Coast Guard as a "Designated Examiner". This certificate qualifies me to evaluate the competence of other mariners to hold a Coast Guard License. I have written extensively on marine safety for Offshore Magazine and other publications. On my free time, I enjoy cruising with my wife on our Catalina 22 on Long Island NY's Great South Bay.

Smashwords Interview

How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has provided a giant step forward to literary freedom. With traditional publishing; the publisher decided what was good enough to print based on whim and what they felt would sell well. Smashwords makes self publishing easy for anybody; which in turn allows the reader to decide what they want to view.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I have always had a love for words, even as a young child. I write nonfiction and it gives me great satisfaction to impart useful information in a clear manner, easily read with touches of humor. Factual or not, this is also an art form for me. I try to write with humor and a rhythm that makes for a pleasing read.
Read more of this interview.

Books

Costa Rica un País Para Todas las Estaciones
By
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 19,490. Language: Spanish. Published: January 25, 2013. Category: Nonfiction » Travel » Essays & Travelogues
Esta e-libro es una descripción detallada de la experiencia de una pareja con dos viajes a Costa Rica. Uno en la estación seca y otra durante las lluvias. Cada viaje es diferente y fascinante. Encontramos un pequeño país que tiene mucho que decir a la ecología, la paz y la responsabilidad por el medio ambiente. Distrutamos mucho de la experiencia tropical con una gente amable y agradable.
Costa Rica a Land for all Seasons
By
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 19,980. Language: English. Published: January 3, 2013. Category: Nonfiction » Travel » Trip Journals
This e-Book is a detailed description of one couple's experience with two trips to Costa Rica. One in the dry season and one during the rains. Each trip was different and fascinating in its own way. We found a small country with a lot to say concerning ecology, peace and responsibility for the environment. We thoroughly enjoyed the tropical experience with a friendly and engaging people.
Life on a Coastal Tug
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 7,180. Language: English. Published: July 28, 2012. Category: Nonfiction » Transportation » Ocean transport
Pleasure boaters will frequently see tugs and ships, but were they anything other than a moving blip on the seascape to the observer? I have worked on coastal tugs for over thirty years and I can tell you that it's not just a skill and a job, but an entire way of life. This book gives an idea as to what daily life is like on a commercial, sea going tugboat.
An Old Salt's Guide to Free Maritime Websites
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,030. Language: English. Published: November 28, 2011. Category: Nonfiction » Sports & outdoor recreation » Boating and sailing
An Old Salt's Guide to Free Maritime Websites is a list of the various websites that I have found useful to the mariner. Some is real time information, like weather and sea conditions; other sites are for marine charts and publications. All information, electronic charts and electronic publications accessible from these sites are free. All web locations are hyperlinked for easy reference.
An Old Salt's Practical Guide to Boating
By
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 46,480. Language: English. Published: October 26, 2011. Category: Nonfiction » Sports & outdoor recreation » Boating and sailing
(5.00 from 1 review)
A basic boating guide, told in a salty tale format. Emphasis is on the practical and not on calculations and theory that the average boater doesn't need. The author has over 40 years of experience on the water as a pleasure boater, Coast Guardsman and commercial tug captain. This is an easy reading and entertaining way to become a proficient boater.

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Smashwords book reviews by Donald Brands

  • Titanic, A Search For Answers on Aug. 15, 2012

    A short concise and well written expose of some of the Titanic's myths. Tales like this tend to take on a life of their own until the real truth gets lost. Joe Combs has done a good job of bringing us back to reality. As a mariner myself, I strongly feel that getting to the true reasons for these tragedies is the only way to prevent these events from reoccurring.