Tuesday 30 April 2013

Book Reviewsday Tuesday: "Under a Gypsy Moon" - Reflections and Revelations

   "Through the mirror of my mind...."
                        -The Supremes

    I once read somewhere that salt water has the power to heal , whether as sweat, tears, or the sea.

    This week's Reviewsday book  reminded me once again of the belief in the restorative power of the sea.

   Michael Hurley's Once Upon a Gypsy Moon  is, as described, a memoir.


  Here's what it's not:

   A travelogue.
   A tale of adventure.
   A tale of an "improbable voyage" as described on the cover blurb.

    Okay, stop me if this scenario sounds familiar:

     A sailor's marriage has hits the skids, his/her successful career has flamed out, his/her post-adolescent kids hate him/her,  his/her 50th birthday is in his wake,  She/he's feeling failure and the tap of fate's finger on his/her shoulder as he/she takes stock of his mortality and  contemplates that She/he is in the latter half of her/his life.

     This is when a sailor heeds the voice that has been calling to him/her since he/she first set foot on a boat, the voice that beckons one to cut the lines and sail over the horizon, to see what one can see and be what one can be. The voice that goes from beckoning to demanding:

     "If not now, when?"
       That sailor sets off to that fabled paradise known loosely as "The Islands".  Could be the Carribbean, could be the South Pacific, could be Mexico or Marathon Key.  All we know is, it ain't here, and neither is anything that the departing sailor needs or wants.  Maybe the sailor will find what he/she is looking for.  Maybe he/she will be back.
   Yeah, of course this is familiar- this drama plays out in every marina, on every shore, every year.

    It's hardly  "improbable."
   Hell,  it is a statistical certainty.

    It's only "improbable" to those with no connection to the water.

     "Once Upon a Gypsy Moon" is a collection of letters the author wrote to folks back home, lightly polished and edited and wrapped with a preface and an infuriatingly tragic final chapter.

    I can identify with a large portion of the author's backstory and his motivation  and his travails because, quite frankly, he is a jerk.

    And as a self-admitted semi-reformed jerk, I can spot another jerk.

    Which made the first two thirds of this book so damn hard to read.

    The author is unlikable.

    And, make no mistake, the author is where he is at the beginning of this memoir precisely because he is, indeed, a jerk.

   Think my description is too harsh?

   Here's the facts as the author lays them out in the first two chapters:

    He moved his family all over the country furthering his law career, always putting his aspirations first.
    He cheated on his wife.
    He got caught.
    His wife threw him out.
    He discarded the woman he cheated with, and is proud of that fact.

     What a great guy.  Unfortunately, the author doesn't quite get this.  He turns first to faith as the solution, apparently in the belief that a sinner is cleansed simply by showing up.  Not unexpectedly, the solution remains unfound.

     This man needs some saltwater redemption.

      Luckily, the author soon figures out that  he is a jerk, and he is not ashamed to let the reader know, and he admits that his ego, his pride and his selfishness were his downfall.

       So Hurley sets off aboard his anonymous 32 foot sailboat, Gypsy Moon, from the Magothy river in Maryland to points South, on a leisurely 2 year cruise...

       Which turns out to be about a 5 on the "Perils and Adventure" scale.

        His passages under sail,  (occasionally interrupted by flights back home), are largely uneventful, with the exception of maintenance issues directly related to the author's disdain for maintenance and stubborn disinterest in all things mechanical.

       As the author puts it:

             “True Salty Dogs- those self-sufficient Lords of the Deep who write books on navigation and the finer points of sail trim and boat mechanics- have long been a source of intimidation and annoyance to me.  As best as I can tell, there is not a poet among them.  They are math-science folk and engineering types all.  For them a clogged fuel line, battery overload, or electrical malfunction is a thing of rapture, and they set about solving the problem with a kind of Yankee ingenuity and determination “that built this country, by jiminy.”  For me, however, these malfunctions are all signs from a benevolent God that man was meant to sail across oceans by oil lamps, not motor across them with enough spare amps to power a refrigerator and a satellite weather station…” *

   So rather than join them, and become a self-sufficient "Salty Dog" himself, he'd rather beat them.  

   Not a good plan.  Mechanical and gear failures and the impact on the author's finances, timtetable and enjoyment of the ports visited are frequently explored topics.


        Along the way, somewhere about the Carolinas,  the author discovers online dating, and what starts as a verbose ship's log now becomes a love letter of sorts to a woman he woos with keyboard and , later meets...

   ...  and weds.
       The newlyweds continue the journey occasionally together, in fits and starts,the bride chronically seasick, the author occasionally flying home to build a new law firm, Gypsy Moon finally ending up in the Dominican Republic n the spring of 2011.

   Along the way the author may have found a redemption of sorts.  A great bulk of the book is taken up with spiritual  introspection and a great bulk of that introspection  is justification and rationalization and religion and the impact that all of it, and none of it, had on the author's life...

... Until  he came to grips with something that many of us have discovered:  a change in latitude does not cause a change in attitude.  If you were a jerk when you left home, you will be a jerk when you reach your destination, unless you commit to change.
    At which point, the book becomes an easier read- the author does a lot less hiding behind excuses and his quest for faith and grace, and focuses more on not screwing up and appreciating those around him.

     And only when you decide to stop being a jerk, will you find someone you love more than you love yourself, and someone who loves you right back.

     As a sailing odyssey, "Once Upon a Gypsy Moon" charts no new courses.  If you're looking for a well-written account of a journey through the eastern Caribbean or a cruising guide, this is not your book.

    If, on the other hand, you like a personal story of a man's firsthand account of his  journey to being a better man, this might be the book for you.

   * This passage stuck in my craw- I'm going to explore it further in a future blog post.

"Talk the Dock!"




Saturday 27 April 2013

Gear and Tool Review: Short Money Hand-held VHF Radio

      "I'm on a wavelength far from home..."
                                  -Wall of Voodoo

    At the beginning of the 2009 season,  we I figured we  I needed a handheld VHF.  A handheld comes in, er, handy  for dinghy comms and short range comms from the cockpit, those times when dropping below to use the fixed mount radio in the cabin is inconvenient.

   So, in June of 2010, we I bought one.

   We  I bought a Uniden Atlantis 250 handheld VHF radio.

     Here's why:
     The fixed mount VHF on Whiskeyjack is a no-frills Uniden unit that is over a decade-and- a -half old and still going strong, the local chandler recommended the Uniden 250, and the radio seemed like it had everything   I  we needed, and nothig we didn't:  Rechargeable battery,  AC adapter and 12 v DC charger,  addtional battery mag to load AA batteries, 1w and 5w power, channel priority selection with a channel 9 panic button, belt clip... and a 2 year warranty.  At $95 and change it wasn't the cheapest radio, but it wasn't the most expensive either.  It appeared to be a decent value.

   My  our impression over the following two seasons is that it was a great radio.  It held a charge forever, had decent range and great sound...

    ...right up until the middle of July of 2012, when it suddenly had no sound at all.

   Which is decidedly ungood, since a radio that will not produce sound is no longer a radio, but a paperweight.

   The upside of this radio is it had a 3 year warranty.

   The downside of this radio is it only had a 3 year warranty.

    The chandler shrugged when I presented him with our my newly mute radio.  Our radio was rendered speechless one month past the warranty end date.


    So, we I now needed a new radio.

  (For those of you wondering about the strikeovers, let me clarify-  when good ideas succeed, they are a team effort, a collaboration between SWMBO and I.  When the poop hits the paddles, I'm on my own.)

    The new radio search sat on the backburner until the 2013 Toronto Boat Show, for reasons both economic and emotional.

   See, we I felt a little burned.

    We I did my job as a marine consumer.  We I didn't jump at the cheapest option, and I didn't dish out the dosh for all the bells and whistles that we I don't really need and will likely never use.  Instead we I was prudent and played it safe...

   and 37 months later we  I need to do it all over again.

    So, this time, I decided  I was going to go with my gut, and go low-buck.

    We I wanted the cheapest handheld VHF radio we I could find that had 5 watts of power, a rechargeable battery  with charger and a belt clip.

    (Actually, scratch the we part.  This time, I was on my own.)

     So, after investing some time in perusing the boats on display at the aptly named Boat Show, I made a beeline for the Radioworld booth.  I told the guy behind the counter what I needed, and a minute and $65 later, I walked away with a Midland Nautico 1 package.

  Here's what $65 got us:

   1w/5w Radio
   Rechargeable battery
   12 volt charger
    AC charger
    Storage bracket
    Belt clip
    Boom mic
    Waterproof storage bag
    Owner's Manual... thankfully.

      Our my initial impression is favourable. We I notice that the radio itself if smaller and lighter than the Uniden Atlantis, and the LED screen is about half the size...  and there is one fewer knob and one extra button than the Atlantis, and most other marine handhelds:
     What jumps out immediately is that there is no squelch knob. The Nautico has an "Auto Squelch" feature, which apparently kills static and background noise without having to dial it in manually.  This could be a cool feature... but it could also mean that weaker signals are lost.

     We'll see how it works in practice this season.

    I charged the battery, as per the owner's manual, on January 21.  To date, over 4 months of inactivity later, the radio is still holding a full charge...

...  I think.

  While this radio doesn't have a squelch knob, it also doesn't have a full time battery strength reading.  Instead, there is a "low battery icon" which appears on the LED screen when, as the description implies, the battery level is low, but one doesn't know the battery is low until the icon comes on. I kinda like the reassurance of knowing how much battery life I have, not just that I am almost out of juice.  This may not be a big deal in practice.  We'll see.

   As mentioned, while lacking a squelch knob, the Nautico does add a "Menu" button...

...  which makes things interesting.

   The "Menu"  button  is where the owner's manual becomes necessary.  Without it, this radio is barely functional.

    See, the upside of this radio's size is... it's size.

    The downside is that, with less real estate to display info, the LED screen cannot report on  all of the systems all of the time.  Thus, one has to learn how to navigate the menu to figure out how to access weather info, scan channels, set channel priorities, call tones, etc.  Upon perusing the menu, I discover that this radio has some cool features, if one can figure out how to use them by manipulating the "menu" button on it's own or in conjunction with other buttons, for example:

 -The option of traditional PTT (Push To Talk) communication or two Vox (hands free) settings.
- A "roger" beep at the end of each transmission
- 3 call-tone choices, to alert the user to incoming calls.
-A keypad lock, to prevent inadvertent setting changes.
-WX monitor, Channel Monitor and Channel Scan functions.
-Instant Channel 9 AND Instant Channel 16 buttons, when you absolutely, positively, need to reach out and touch someone NOW.
-A choice of high or low power settings.

   So, more features than the Atlantis, but less intuitive.  This radio is gonna require some homework to get the most out of it.

   Okay, so what is the deal with the form-fitting  bag included with this radio kit?

    According to Midland, this radio is "water resistant."  In other words, you can likely use it in the rain, or occasional spray-over-the-coamings conditions, without issue, but if there is the possibility of submersion, like a dingy ride in choppy water, it behooves you to bag it.  The bag also addresses a shortcoming of the radio, which is that while there is a belt clip, there is no lanyard.  The bag has an attached lanyard, allowing one to hang the radio around one's neck whilst making a dingy run to the beach with the mutts.

   Along with being water resistant, this radio also does not float, which is another advantage to the baggie/lanyard combo:  Any air inside the bag adds some supplemental flotation, and a couple of floaty keychains snapped onto the lanyard will at least keep the radio floating long enough to grab it, if dropped overboard.

  I'm not sure of the value of the included boom mic/earpiece combo.  I wouldn't have paid extra for it, but, I didn't have to pay extra for it; it was included.  I'll try it.  If it works well, I can see some advantage in not having to give up  a hand to holding a radio mic button in a shorthanded situation.

I'll keep you posted on how this low-buck radio performs this season.

 The key phrase here, as it so often is on the Dock,  is "low-buck."

  This is a short money radio, and the price point does have an impact on one's expectations.  If  I had invested $200plus in a radio I would expect submersibility and flotation and long term warranties and all the features easily accessible on an easy-to-read screen.

For less than the cost of dinner for 2 at The Keg?  I'm happy if it lasts through the 3 year warranty, and I don't mind having to study the owner's manual to figure out how to get a weather report.

"Talk the Dock"


Wednesday 17 April 2013

Opening Day Magic!

   "I love my sunny day, dream of far away."

     This winter was like a goth girl I dated in high school:

   Kinda gloomy and dull and cold and dismal and hung around way too long.

       It seemed like this winter would never end.  Last year, we were wearing shorts in March...  this year, we had temperatures below freezing into April.

     But then...


     The arrival of the Marina's Opening Day brought sun, warmer temperatures, and the promise of better days ahead.

     Hang in there.


"Talk the Dock!"

Book Reviewsday Tuesday: "The Perfect First Mate" - Bad Title, Better Book

   "Ain't nobody else can do it like we can."
                                      -Jordin Sparks

       It's time to discuss the elephant in the room:

       Boating is a pretty damn sexist pastime.

       Okay, maybe not as sexist as Augusta National.

       Or Bohemian Grove.

       Or the Vatican.

       But sexist nonetheless...

       ...and it is a kinda sneaky sorta sexism.

       Okay, look, put down the pitchforks and flaming torches and hear me out, then try to tell me I am wrong.

        Look around your  mooring field or marina-  what do you see?

        Lots of boats, owned by couples.


        Who's usually at the helm?  The Captain.

        Who plots the course?  The Captain.

        Who makes the new gear choices?  The Captain.

         Who is always shopping for the next boat?  The Captain.

         Who's yelling?  The Captain.

          Meanwhile, who's hanging fenders, throwing docklines, winching halyards,  fending off the dock when somebody plows into the slip too hot (again), ignoring the yelling, shopping for provisions, stowing the provisions,  packing clothes, unpacking clothes, hanging towels and bathing suits to dry, managing laundry, cooking, passing tools, scrubbing decks, sanding hulls and, most importantly.... tending bar?


         The First Mate.

          It just doesn't sound like a real fifty-fifty partnership, does it?

             The title of this week's Reviewsday Tuesday book doesn't help the cause...

          The Perfect First Mate

                                                                  - image courtesy of Amazon.ca

       The subtitle, "A woman's guide to recreational boating," sorta soothes the sting, but, as SWMBO pointed out, when I asked her to help me review this book,
     "If I was in a bookstore looking at a choice of books on boating fundamentals, I'd probably pass on this one, just on basic principle."

      So I picked it up and read it instead.

    (I'm not sure what this says about the equality, or lack thereof, in our personal and boating relationship, but I am sure it says something.)

    It's too bad about the unfortunate title, because,  if you can get past the cover, you discover there's a lot of solid information  packed inside.

    Joy Smith brings some solid credentials to the party.  A long time boater, Ms. Smith now serves as first mate on a Farr 50, Joy For All, and is a Salty Dawg Rally veteran, with a variety of fiction and non-fiction works under her belt.  It quickly becomes obvious she knows her stuff.

Originally published in 1999, The Perfect First Mate is now in it's second edition.  Logically laid out, "...First Mate" is loaded wiht good info for  the novice boater- The introduction is titled "So You've Bought a Boat."   Subsequent chapters demonstrate an exhaustive approach to boating that provides value to more experienced boaters as well, cover everything from stowage to storage to provisioning to pets to hygiene to ...sex.

   First mate Smith's writing style is breezy, conversational, comprehensible, and deceptively in-depth; there is little jargon, and the information is clearly presented and easy to understand.  For example, want to know how to get rid of mold and mildew and prevent it from coming back?  It's in here, and the author explains not just how to deal with it, but what causes it.

    The author is a sailor, but the information presented is largely applicable to both sail and power boats.

  That breezy writing style is subversive- without directly spelling it out, First Mate Smith makes it clear who really  runs a boat... which maybe why a First Mate is often more correctly known as The Admiral

    If you've just bought a boat or are considering a boat purchase, this is a good place for new boaters of both sexes to start.

    Just get past the cover.

   "Talk the Dock!"






Tuesday 9 April 2013

Gear and Tool (P)Review: A New Twist On Cordless Tool Kits

       "Is this what you deserve?"
                    -Tears for Fears

       My cordless drill is, like me, starting to show it's age.  It's banged up, nicked, scarred, starting to lose it's grip and no longer has the stamina that it used to and needs more time to recharge than when it was newer.

       It's built boats, boat parts, decks, garden sheds, VW camper interiors, kitchen cabinets, work benches, book shelves... 10 years on, it doesn't owe me anything.

       After taking three times as long as it should to drill lightening holes in paddleboard parts, due to short battery life, I knew I finally had to get serious about finding a replacement for the 12 volt NiCad workhorse.

       "Hmmm"  I pondered to myself, "Self, if you're gonna buy a new drill, maybe it is time to buy one of them 18 volt Lithium Ion cordless kits you've been thinking about for a while."

      Of course, there were a number of reasons why I had not yet made the transition from "thinking about"  to "stepping up."

 1.  $$$.
      Every time I get close to pulling the trigger on buying a bag o' tools I just can't justify the $250-           $350 cost.  After all, my old drill is still working, and I haven't really needed  a cordless circular saw or  jigsaw or reciprocating saw...
          ... yet.

 2. Unnecessary yet inevitable package padding:
      To get the tools I want need in the kit, I also have to pay for tools I don't need want- like a vacuum cleaner, or flashlight.

3. Serviceability:
     Ryobi's One+ tool system is a great idea, addressing my objections outlined above, and the warranty is solid, but the nearest Ryobi dealer is 45 minutes away.  If I need to replace a tool or buy a tool, it will inevitably occur while I am using a tool, and I don't want to have to take a 90 minute road trip to solve the problem.

 4.  Space:
      One reason why I am leaning toward cordless tools is to be able to accomplish boatwork on the boat.  While Whiskeyjack is on the hard extension cords plugged into our portable generator work fine...  but on the Dock it is a whole lot less convenient.  So, I want tools that I can keep on our boat.  Our small boat.  With even smaller storage space.  Stowing another tool bag filled with a drill, a saw, a sander and the accessories is a non-starter.

    All good excuses reasons for not owning a bunch of shiny new tools. But, with paddleboards to be built, and a drill with the staying power of a Vegas wedding,  it was time to get serious about finding a solution.

     I may have found it.

   Welcome to the Black And Decker Matrix.

    What B&D have done here is rethink cordless tool design.

     Basically, the handle is the heart of the system.  The lithium-ion  battery slides onto the butt of the grip, and the rest is pretty straightforward variable speed cordless drill ergonomics-  the motor is cantilevered to the rear off of the top of the grip,  the gearbox above the trigger, and the drive direction switch is just above the trigger.

   Forward of the trigger is where things get interesting. Standard included matrix equipment is a 3/8" drill chuck/ 11 position clutch assembly.   Pretty  typical, with one difference:- the chuck is removable, and can be replaced with an assortment of other Matrix tool heads.  Press a button,  remove the chuck and replace it with the appropriate tool head, and you have a detail sander, an impact driver, an oscillating saw, a router, a trim saw, or a jig saw...
... sort of.

More on that later.

I bought the "Starter Kit."  (For those of you playing along at home, available at Canadian Tire $149.99 )

Inside the box was the drill, one battery, battery charger, detail sander head, jigsaw head, one saw blade, a small assortment of pre-cut sandpaper and manuals.

So, how does this new 20 volt* drill compare to the old venerable 12 volt it is replacing?

  First, let's clear the air about that * above.  B&D bills this tool as 20 volts, BUT, upon  perusing the manual,   I read "Maximum initial battery pack voltage (measured without a workload) is 20 volts.   The nominal voltage is 18." ...  in other words, it is a real-world 18 volt powertrain.

  Even though it is 50% more powerful, the Matrix is a smaller overall package, at least according to my Sharpie-assisted testing:

  The chassis presents the workhead at a lower angle as well.  The rubberized grip fits nicely, and feels well balanced.  Whether there is any advantage to the shallower workhead angle will be seen over the next few months of testing.

   What is definitely an advantage is the difference in weight.  Although more powerful, the Matrix is noticeably lighter:

    The Matrix's Lithium Ion battery is also noticeably lighter than the OldDrill's 12 volt NiCad brick.  lerss weight, and better weight distribution means less user fatigue and more accurate work.

    The battery charger provides charge info, including  "bad battery" notification.  smack the abttery into the charger, and if the battery bad, the LED blinks red.  If the battery is good and charging, the LED blinks green and when charged glows a constant green.  A full charge takes 3-5 hours.  I will report back on real-world real- project battery life over the next few months.  A second battery may be a prudent investment.

"So, it seems like a decent drill."  Faithful reader says, " How about the other tool heads?"

This is where the "sort of"  part comes in.

  Press a button, remove the drill head and install the jigsaw head and you have a variable speed jigsaw...

  ...   An ergonomically unique jigsaw.  With a relatively small footprint and an unconventional grip, the saw may have a tendency to climb or wander.  Two hands may be required to get acceptable cutting performance and accuracy. 

     We'll see.

      On the plus side, changing blades is a quick toolless exercise. and the blades are standard items.

Need to sand the pieces you just cut?  No problem.  Push the button, pull off the saw head, install the sander head...

   Wha-bam!  You're sanding.  As with the jigsaw, the detail sander is ergonomically different than a traditional palm sander.  

    Better?  Worse?  

    I'll let you know over the next few months.

  I bough the starter kit (apparently unique to Canadian Tire) on sale for $99 plus tax.  Additional toolheads and batteries run $24-$59 each.  Add a router, trim saw and oscillating saw and a pretty comprehensive compact package can be had for under $250.

    The space savings over other cordless options is obvious. Will  the ergonomics help or hinder performance?  Time will tell.


"Talk the Dock!"

Tuesday 2 April 2013

Book Reviewsday Tuesday: "Cooking Aboard a Small Boat" - A Kinda Cookbook

     "Living one word to the next, one line at a time"
                                        -Kenny Chesney

      I decided it was time to fill one of the potholes in that nautical information superhighway dirt road that is the Dock Six Chronicles.

    We've got Gear and Tool Reviews (to be updated shortly), Recipes (to be updated shortly),  Coming Events (yeah, that too needs updating....sigh,)  What has been missing until now is a section of Book Reviews.  

    Today, we solve that problem, kicking off the first...

    Book Reviewsday Tuesday!


     The plan is to have a new review for you every other Tue..sday.

      Some weeks it will be a how-to manual,  some weeks maybe a first-hand passage or cruise account,  other weeks fiction, sometimes hot off the presses, sometimes an old favourite, sometimes it might not even be boat-related, just a good read I figured I'd pass along.

    Your input and help is always welcome- have you read a book you have liked and wish to share, or a book you didn't enjoy and wish to warn others away from?   Drop me a line.

    One of the things that is great about most boat-related how-to books is that the book title usually tells you exactly what the book is about.  No messing about, no having to leaf through the bloody thing in the bookstore to figure out what it's about like some of that fancier stuff.  Nope-  most marine how-to authors tell you what it's about right on the cover.

    Following the norm, Paul "Capt'n Pauley" Esterle gets right to it:


   Some of you might be familiar with Capt'n Pauley, thanks to his regular contributions to Small Craft Advisor

   He's our kinda guy.

   Like some of  us, Capt'n Pauley sails a small boat-  Ternabout, a Matilda 20, one of the great Canadian "trailer sailer" pocket cruisers to come out of the golden age of small boats, the late 60s/early 70s. 

   Also, like some of us, he has invested an amount of time and money equipping and outfitting that is out of all  proportion to the value of his boat.

   He understands living large on a small boat.

  That Capt'n Pauley knows whereof he speaks was evident from the moment I picked up this book.  The binding told me, "This guy gets it."

  See, "Cooking Aboard..." is spiral bound. 

   Spiral binding allows the reader to open the book to the desired page and lay it flat, leaving both hands free to accomplish what you are trying to accomplish by reading the book conveniently lying open in front of you. You can also fold the book back on itself, so that it takes up half the space when opened, a small but important thing when working with limited galley space. 

     "Cooking Aboard..." is much more "small boat friendly" than typical cookbooks like "The Joy of Cooking", for example.  That doorstop would damn near fill Whiskeyjack's galley, and refuses to stay open to any of it's hundreds of pages unassisted.

It's a little thing, but anything that makes my life easier earns bonus points.

  As the post title says, this is a kinda cookbook.
  And a kinda DIY manual. 
  And a kinda, well...
 "Cooking Aboard..." is what I call a "Start from stupid" book.  The author assumes that you know nothing, and aims to teach you everything.  

    Occasionally, "Start from stupid" is a bad idea, usually when the author dumbs the book down below the general knowledge level of his/her intended audience, then adopts a narrative style that provides no simple means for the reader to access the information they need now.

  Capt'n Pauley avoids this trap by breaking "Cooking Aboard..." into a logical sequence of stand alone chapters and sub-chapters.

  For the unconscious incompetent ,  "Cooking Aboard..." starts from scratch, discussing  galley necessities, tools, gear, provisioning and storage, then expands on that foundation by offering advice on galley and cockpit projects to improve the cooking, and eating, aboard experience.
  For more experienced galley slaves, it is easy to jump to the sections that have more value, whether it is storage advice, spice tips,  recipes or how to build a propane canister locker.

   The book is well illustrated, with photos and line drawings illustrating the text of the project under discussion...

  .... with a glaring exception-  the recipes that fill the last 70 pages of the 182 page book.

    While the first 6 chapters are liberally illustrated, Chapter 7 has a only a handful of photos which do little to highlight the recipes to which they are attached.  For example, the Chicken Caesar Salad Wraps:

    The recipe sounds tasty, but the accompanying image looks like very shiny hand-rolled homegrown of dubious legality.

     Many of the recipes are sourced from other sources-books,  message boards, forums and other sailors' blogs, which might explain, maybe, the lack of art. But, that in turn, presents another concern-  if the author hasn't tried the recipes offered, the author can't attest to the accuracy of proportions, ingredients, or taste.  As the first 6 chapters are all based on first-hand experience, I am gonna give the good Capt'n the benefit of the doubt here.  

   *edit: I contacted Capt'n Pauley with a link to this review.  He kindly replied
    "Just to be clear, all the recipes were tested, tried and true on Ternabout. I originally had many more pictures of food in the book. However, the cost of a Lulu book is dependent on the binding and number of pages. I knew I wanted the spiral binding even though it is the most expensive binding type. I also wanted as many pictures as I could get in and keep the price of the finished book attractive. Rather than remove pictures of some of the more important features, I removed food type pictures until I got to the price point I was comfortable with."

Thanks, Capt'n for the clarification.  


   As any good hands-on how-to manual will, "Cooking Aboard..." has a Notes section at the end of the book, which is a handy idea.

   There's the odd typo and grammatical error, not uncommon in self-published works, but overall it is a readable, well-presented manual.  I expect that my copy will be dog-eared and rum -stained in short order this season, and will be well-thumbed in many seasons to come.  

    Want a copy of your own?

    Fire off a not-unreasonable $17.95 via paypal for the hard copy or only $8.99 for the e-reader version to

  You can find the rest of Capt'n Pauley's works on Amazon:

    He writes so me good stuff- there maybe more Capt'n Pauley reviews on future Tuesdays.


"Talk the Dock!"