Friday, January 5, 2018

Evanston: a pleasant surprise

        A few days ago Dan, the former Australian submariner whom I met on the dock at Driscoll’s Marina in San Diego in 2013 and who subsequently sailed his Medalist 32, COYOTE, to Australia with his American girl friend, emailed that a mate showed him a book, NOTABLE BOATS, that had been given to him as a Christmas present.  In skimming through, Dan came across CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE.
        There are two versions of the book, one published last year in the United States, one the original published in England.  The English version was the one Dan saw.  I bought the US version from Amazon.  
        Here is the US cover.

        Here the UK.

        The titles are slightly different and the UK cover mentions forty boats.  The US version includes only thirty-six.  CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE has made the cut in both.
        Four pages are devoted to each boat, including outstanding illustrations by Peter Scott, a chart of the voyage, and a summary.
        Most of the boats are relatively small sailing vessels, by far the biggest being the 143’/43.6 meter Canadian schooner, BLUENOSE.
        A few of the choices are whimsical.  Huck Finn’s raft and the gondola in which Casanova escaped from a Venetian prison.  But mostly CHIDIOCK is in good company—SPRAY; DORADE; JOSHUA—and I am pleased.
        I knew of most of these boats and voyages and have met several of the sailors in person.
        I smiled when glancing through the Index I found CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE’s name immediately above my own.  I had not ever made that connection.  Chid-, Chil-.
        A surprising omission, at least in the US edition, particularly for a book coming from the UK, is the Hiscock’s WANDERER III, their favorite of the five WANDERERs and a boat that is still making fine voyages.
        I also would have included LEHG II in which Vito Dumas became the first man to survive rounding Cape Horn.
        And were the book being written now, GANNET might deserve a place, too,