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Synopsis

Atlantic High is ostensibly the tale of Buckley’s 1980 voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, a recond of Buckley’s meditations on the pleasures of sailing and the importance of good company. Not surprisingly, as much thought seems to have gone into stocking the wine cellar as to charting the route across the high seas. This is an essay on appreciation, and a chance for Buckley to exercise his unique sense of humor and share his spirited point of view.

After a leisurely aside-filled discussion of other trips, Buckley sets out with several close friends and a photographer to make his second trans-Atlantic crossing. The first crossing provided the basis for his popular book, Airborne. When asked by People magazine why he chose to make the crossing for a second time, Buckley replied with characteristic drollness, “the wedding night is never enough.” It is a passion for sailing that motivates Buckley and enlivens these pages.

The book ranges easily from observation to speculation, from humorous character sketch to wry editorial commentary. It is peppered with anecdotes, including one in which Buckley, armed with a hacksaw, breaks into a boatyard to steal his own boat back from an unscrupulous repairman. In another, President Reagan calls to discuss a conflict that is brewing in Africa, but all Buckley can think about is the weather ahead of him and his crew.

From the Mujeres Islands to Fiji to Bermuda, to Sao Miguel and Gibraltar and beyond, the reader is treated to Buckley’s observations of the places he visits and the people he encounters. A work as hard to categorize as Buckley himself, Atlantic High offers a real glimpse into Buckley’s philosophical meanderings as well as the good life on the high seas.

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