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  • By Joan Stanbury
    Feb 27, 2011
    Review of THE LONG SUMMER by Brad Newell. If you are contemplating putting some serious blue water under the keel of your yacht, The Long Summer by Brad Newell is desired, if not compulsory, reading. In fact, if you are planning any sort of ocean voyage – from a world circumnavigation to a cruise round nearby islands, a summer under sail in a thousand different sea-whacked places or a hop across a “ditch” (as the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand is affectionately called) this book has been written for you. It is the story of how Brad and his wife Judy, a retired couple on the shady side of middle-age, chose a cruiser, named it Wendigo, prepared and provisioned it and, with Wendi, their 20+-year-old daughter, sailed the Pacific from Puget Sound in Washington State to Australia and back. The voyage took four years. They dealt with lots of small problems and solved major problems – including one hair-curling event* - without having to call a tug-boat, lost a daughter to... More > Cupid's arrow and expanded, exponentially, their list of dear friends along the way. Brad Newell modestly describes himself and Judy as “reasonably competent local cruisers”. However, he IS a physicist and a pilot – American Air Force-trained and later a Boeing 747 captain. Together they researched their proposed journey and prepared for it in a meticulous way. Their reasons for choosing a new Hunter Legend 43 as their sail-boat are listed and, with the benefit of hind-sight, evaluated, along with all the extra equipment they elected to fit or stow. Brad's advice on every item – from engines, radars and refrigeration to deck barbecues and life rafts – is rich with experience. Bouquets and brick-bats are dished out as deserved and he is not short on self-criticism if appropriate. This man knows what he is talking about and raises subjects that may not have even entered the mind of the novice ocean cruiser. Fitting-out and setting-out aside (a shake-down circumnavigation of Vancouver Island and a cruise down the entire US west coast to the Baja Peninsula, Mexico, the Sea of Cortez, et al) the voyage of Wendigo is a most enjoyable romp through the Pacific. It is an easy read, strong on practical information and peppered with wry humour - “....sailboats virtually always have the right-of-way over shipping so, in the event of a collision it's almost always the ship that is legally at fault – some consolation. Your heirs can sue.” Whilst Brad and Judy cruised the Pacific, two yachts and their crews were lost in collisions at sea. The difficulty for sailor-authors is that long voyages can challenge boredom thresholds however Brad punctuates stretches at sea with sharp-eyed oceanic observations, stories of running repairs, reports of the antics of fellow yachties, commentaries on wildlife and entertaining tales of visits to fabled South Sea Islands. Such exotica as The Marquesas, the Tuamotus, Easter Island (Isla de Pascua), Tahiti (including Moorea, Huahine, Raiatea and Bora Bora), The Cook Islands and Tonga – and their inhabitants with whom the Newells rubbed shoulders - are brought to brilliant life. All of it was recorded in Judy's log which, in turn, was mined by Brad for the book. The first major stop (for five months) was in New Zealand where Wendi met her future husband and, in essence jumped ship (read the book – it is also a love story). Judy and Brad sailed on to Australia via Fiji with Wendigo participating in and winning a prize in the annual Musket Cove to Vanuatu Yacht Race. After nearly a year in Australia – Sydney, Brisbane, the Barrier Reef, lots of travel within the country and a side trip to New Zealand for Wendi's wedding – Brad and Judy headed home, sailing via the Solomons, Tarawa (Kiribati, formerly the Gilbert Islands) and Honolulu. It was in Vanuatu that I had the pleasure of meeting them – and cemented the friendship during their Sydney stay. * Re that “hair-curling event”: I've provided a sort-of synopsis of The Long Summer but amongst the plethora of fascinating stories and good advice there is one near-disaster. Read the book.< Less
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Product Details

Brad Newell
August 5, 2011
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
1.14 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
6 wide x 9 tall
Product ID
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