Dispatches from Distant Seas
by Beth Leonard
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Winner Of The National Outdoor Book Award For Literature
When Beth Leonard and her partner, Evans Starzinger, returned from a three-year, 35,000 mile circumnavigation, they thought they were done with offshore voyaging. But neither realized how irrevocably they had been changed by their experience, nor how irresistible the siren song of the sea would prove. In comparison, life ashore seemed dull and monochrome, and within months, Beth knew she had to go back to sea in order to remain true to the person she had become.
Four years later they set out on their 47-foot aluminum sloop Hawk for a journey that lasted six years and took them more than 50,000 miles. They voyaged to Newfoundland, Iceland, Norway, the Caribbean, Ireland, Scotland, Cape Horn, New Zealand, the South Pacific, British Columbia--to the ends of the earth and back.
Blue Horizons is Beth Leonard's record of that journey. Compiled from her popular columns in Blue Water Sailing magazine, which she wrote along the way, Blue Horizons is more than an adventure saga, more than the log of an extended passage. As in all great travel writing, it’s the product of an insatiable hunger to explore the world, and in so doing to explore one’s own soul. It is, says Beth, "about pulling your dreams over the horizon to you, one sail change, one course correction at a time."
But this is no dreamer's tale. Beth Leonard is both sailor and writer, well qualified to deal with and describe blue water voyaging. Her observations are as sharp as salt air and her prose as informed as it is insightful and entertaining.
Beth also brings to Blue Horizons a uniquely feminine perspective, a combination of empathy, charm, and lyric grace. Her pages are suffused with emotion and a strong sense of immediacy. You're with Beth and Evans as Hawk pokes into a lonely and deserted outport on Newfoundland's barren northeast coast, and as they await hurricane Lenny in Antigua. And you sympathize as she burrows deep into her tilting berth, seeking that one, elusive interval of comfort that will bring sleep on a pounding windward passage, only to be dashed awake by the cold shock of a rogue wave spilling into her bunk. Blue Horizons is a rare journey, one to be savored by sailors and armchair adventurers alike.
Praise for Blue Horizons:
“In her new, wonderful book, Beth Leonard shows us a world in which ‘perfection’ is not bland, easy, escapist comfort in a crowded tropical harbor but a more insecure yet more rewarding existence of constant challenge--cold waters, rocky coves, old fishing villages, demanding seamanship, and the evolution of two sailors trying to manage a boat and also their own relationship.” --John Rousmaniere, author of Fastnet, Force 10, After the Storm, and The Annapolis Book of Seamanship
“Let Beth Leonard inspire you to sail around the world, explore the high latitudes, or discover your own capacity for adventure. Each nugget in this ‘dream becomes reality’ series of revelations is worth a thousand pictures.” --Gary Jobson, ESPN sailing commentator, America’s Cup Hall of Famer, and author of Gary Jobson’s Championship Sailing
“Blue Horizons chronicles a remarkable adventure through some of the globe’s most inhospitable waters. . . . Every account in this collection provides a taste and sometimes a feast. It is wise, perceptive, wonderful. If you have ever wondered what it might be like to exchange conventional comforts for an adventure not packaged with round-trip airfare, Beth Leonard has written these dispatches to you.” --Don Casey, author of This Old Boat and Don Casey’s Complete Illustrated Sailboat Maintenance Manual
- McGraw-Hill Education, September 2006
International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press
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