Wooden Boat Magazine Review for Sea Trials

Another great review from a national magazine!

“It’s the perfect kind of book for an ocean passage or for too-long winter of rain in Puget Sound or snow in Maine. … even armchair sailors will feel their hearts race with the Wilcox family in the cockpit of their 40’ Maine pinky, VELA … With consistent literary reviews for her “genuine enthusiasm,” Hinman delivers another book to let you sail away. It’s one thing to write your own tale of a sailing journey, but in Sea Trials, Hinman has written a tribute to her husband and his family. It’s a book of love. She’s also contributed rare, timeless and now mostly impossible-to-repeat sailing experiences for the world sailing audiences.” Wooden Boat Magazine

Read the full review below:

Review in Wooden Boat Magazine
July/Aug 2017 Issue #257

Sea Trials: Around the World with Duct Tape and Bailing Wire
Review by Kaci Cronkite

For Sailors who’ve shipwrecked on a reef or who’ve struggled , sleep-deprived and half awake, to make urgent night-time navigation decisions, prepare for some PTSD in the prologue of Wendy Hinman’s latest book, Sea Trials. It’s a story of a shipwreck, and although I’ll leave details to the reader I will say that even armchair sailors will feel their hearts race with the Wilcox family in the cockpit of their 40’ Maine pinky, VELA, on the fateful night of September 19, 1974. After that, rest assured, the book slows down to a familiar sailor’s travelogue pace for 60 chronological chapters that take you around the world and back again to San Francisco Bay. It’s the perfect kind of book for an ocean passage or for too-long winter of rain in Puget Sound or snow in Maine. With consistent literary reviews for her “genuine enthusiasm,” Hinman delivers another book to let you sail away.

Garth Wilcox, the “teenage hero” on the voyage whose story is told in Sea Trials, is now Hinman’s husband. They went on to sail around the world together from 2000 to 2007, a story told in her earlier book, Tightwads on the Loose. In Sea Trials, fans of Tightwads will find the same conversational style, recounting another mix of mishaps, humor, foreign-port intrigue, and (after the prologue) an array of all-too-familiar good day/bad day experiences of boat owners and ocean sailors. Hinman’s stories are undoubtedly real.

What distinguishes Sea Trials from her first book and most other circumnavigation tales is the courageous and loving task the author took on: She wove together her husband’s childhood memories, an unpublished draft of his sister’s version of the story (spoiler alert: she loathed the journey), news articles, and interviews. She also drew upon letters sent from various family members to relatives and friends, the ship’s log, and book-inspired reflective interviews with her mother-in-law and father-in-law, who parted ways a decade after their return.

The Wilcox family’s voyage in VELA began in 1973, when electronics, sailing guides, and services for cruisers were relatively undeveloped. What made the voyage such a tremendously difficult one at times also makes it heroic, uniquely personal, and refreshingly resourceful. It takes us all back to simpler, albeit tougher, times.

Part I of the book sails smoothly until the tragic shipwreck. Part II takes up the aftermath: eight months of hard, nearly impossible-to-fathom work for the Wilcox family. In Fiji, father Chuck, mother Dawn, homesick sister Linda, and young Garth worked tirelessly and with uncommon determination to both save and repair the boat. First, the family unloaded what they could from the wrecked boat to a cinder-block building on an uninhabited atoll. Alone, they rationed food and water. Eventually they were found by local fishermen. Negotiations and logistics for the salvage wore away at everyone’s frayed emotions, but eventually the boat was towed to a boatyard in Suva.

Nearly every part of the boat needed work and nearly every dollar they had was spent. By Chapter 34, after dengue fever, an IRS audit, infinite national holidays, brain-numbing heat and sweltering humidity, they finally sailed away, forever changed. Every member of the family was pushed to a breaking point. The boat, too, would never recover.

For ocean travelers, the place names and ports around the world cycle through the book with familiarity like constellations. Names of people, businesses, and details of the scenes, though, are mostly history now. When the Wilcox family anchored to get fresh water in the Marquesas, Daniel and his wife showed them around. At the remote atoll of Suwarrow, Tom Neale came out to greet them and shared vegetables. In Australia, at that time, customs clearance was “laid back” for cruising sailors, though piles in the river are still the “cheapest moorage in Brisbane” and “southerly busters” and “crocs” are still a worry “up the reef.” In 1976-77, half of the cruisers in the Indian Ocean were opting for the Red Sea route, and instead of a threat of piracy or international conflict, their focus of “horrors” was on the headwinds. Israel, Turkey, Cyprus, Morocco. Without Guidebooks and with a freedom that is no longer feasible today, the Wilcox family went wherever the winds of the Mediterranean took them. Sailing to the Caribbean Sea and then the Panama Canal, they found themselves back among Americans, but in four-and-a-half years, much had changed. The economic gulf they saw between themselves and other cruisers was “of epic proportions.” The costs, and news that Chuck’s father was sick and his health failing, compelled the family to return home to California.

The final passage is also epic. At one point in the voyage Garth wrote “NUTS,” in the log. His father wrote “Or DJL [Davey Jones Locker].” His sister wrote, “I HATE THIS.” VELA sailed through wind and calm, her bottom covered with barnacles on barnacles; she had a broken toilet, a 6’ wildly dislodged spreader, and a broken watch upon which they were totally dependent for their celestial navigation, along with dwindling food, water and fuel. The Wilcox family finally sailed into San Francisco Bay on July 2, 1978, 86 days from Panama. There was no fanfare. The month-overdue yacht was at first even overlooked by the Coast Guard.

After years away, the family struggled to fit in and, like most ocean sailors, they never will. On their first night ashore in their former Palo Alto home, they slept together on the boat cushions one last time. Soon, VELA was “adopted” for $14,000.

Only Garth ever sailed again.

It’s one thing to write your own tale of a sailing journey, but in Sea Trials, Hinman has written a tribute to her husband and his family. It’s a book of love. She’s also contributed rare, timeless and now mostly impossible-to-repeat sailing experiences for the world sailing audiences. It made me long to be on the ocean again, without electronics, 24-hour world news, satellite monitoring of our location, and blogs. It made me grateful to be one of the tribe who holds onto the lessons and love of bluewater as if life depend on it. We cherish the verdicts of our own Sea Trials.

##
Kaci Cronkite lives in Port Townsend, Washington, and wherever the wind blows. She’s the author of FINDING PAX: THE UNEXPECTED JOURNEY OF A LITTLE WOODEN BOAT. Learn more at www.kacicronkhite.com.

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Wendy Hinman to Present at Essex Shipbuilding Museum 6/28 6pm

Wendy Hinman will be presenting at the Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum in Essex, MA, Wednesday, June 28, 6-8pm


A shipwreck might end a dream of circumnavigating the globe. Not for the Wilcox family. To triumph, they must rebuild their boat on a remote Pacific island. Damage sustained on the reef and a lack of resources haunt them the rest of the way around the world as they face wild weather, pirates, gun boats, mines and thieves, and starvation in a trial that tests them to their limits. Come hear Wendy Hinman share this amazing story and that of her own voyage years later with one of the survivors.

Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum
Box 277
66 Main Street
Essex, MA 01929
Thu

http://www.essexshipbuildingmuseum.org/

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Enter to win a copy of Sea Trials

Goodreads giveaway

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Sea Trials by Wendy Hinman

Sea Trials

by Wendy Hinman

Giveaway ends June 30, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

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Sea Trials event at Liberty Bay Books July 3

On Monday July 3rd, before the evening’s huge Poulsbo fireworks display, come hear about epic sailing adventures from veteran voyager Wendy Hinman.

Monday, July 3, 3pm
Liberty Bay Books
18881 Front St NE # D, Poulsbo, WA 98370

Wendy Hinman, the author of laugh-out-loud award-winning memoir Tightwads on the Loose, shares another true story of adventure and the stubbornness of dreams. Sea Trials is the timeless story of a family and their struggle to finish what they started. Follow the daunting challenges they face and get a glimpse of the fascinating cultures they encounter in a story with enough levity to keep readers of all ages hooked to a suspenseful, satisfying ending.

— “A modern, swashbuckling adventure.” San Francisco Book Review

Sea Trials garnered a Kirkus Starred review and has been selected as a book of the month. Don’t miss this epic story.

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Book signing at Savoy Bookshop in Westerly Rhode Island 6/24.


Wendy Hinman will be signing copies of both her titles, Tightwads on the Loose and Sea Trials at Savoy Bookshop in Westerly Rhode Island on June 24th from 3-5pm. Come meet the author and get your very own personally autographed copy.

Savoy Bookshop & Café
10 Canal St., Westerly RI 02891
Phone: 401-213-3901

http://www.banksquarebooks.com/event/bsb-book-signing-wendy-hinman-sea-trials


Tightwads on the Loose: A Seven Year Pacific Odyssey

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“Sea Trials is a captivating narrative, full of suspense and colorful descriptions” Sailing Magazine

Here’s the full text of the review of Sea Trials from Sailing Magazine:
June 2017

“Wendy Hinman is an adventurer, sailor and storyteller. She grew up immersed in adventure from an early age, when her father’s job as a dentist in the Navy took her family to various places during her childhood. She learned to sail and embraced the freedom that it offered. Later Hinman and her husband spent many years on their sailboat, but this book is not that story.

Sea Trials is the true story of her husband’s family and their adventure cruising in the 1970s, when GPS and cell phones were not available and a family going cruising for five years was unique enough to garner media attention in many corners of the globe. Using these news articles along with detailed ship’s loge and other notes and records, Hinman retells her in-laws’ anecdotes in a beautiful tale of sailing, adventure and growing up in a close family on a 40-foot Maine Pinky.

Vela, the Wilcox family’s home for what was supposed to be five years, shipwrecked just 13 months after striking out on the adventure. With two teenagers onboard, finding the strength to overcome both physical and emotional challenges became the elder Wilcox’s primary responsibility. With the damage to Vela on the reef, engine troubles and lack of communications just added to the list of problems.
While there are many narratives of life at sea, few are told with such authority and grace. Since the author was not present for the adventure, she relies on a number of sources and points of view, weaving the details together in a patchwork that is richly multifaceted. The saga of the Wilcox clan is set against the backdrop of a dangerous and fulfilling time at sea, while encompassing the everyday life of a tight family at the same time. Struggles over finding landfall in the dark and fixing damaged rigging are on equal footing with squabbles over chores between the teenagers. Rose-colored glasses are not a part of Hinman’s repertoire, as the physical and emotional strain are evident throughout the book, especially from the mother’s point of view. Tasked with keeping children comfortable and safe at sea, her sheer exhaustion and concern for their well-being is palpable in some pages.

Hinman’s future husband, a teenaged Garth Wilcox, is the hero of the story. The years spent sailing with his family were not his last, and he has racked up many sea miles sailing with his wife. It is easy to see why she was attracted to a sailor who embraces the obstacles that sailing provides and uses them as a springboard to overcome other challenges.

Sea Trials is a captivating narrative, full of suspense and colorful descriptions of the sailing environment. Readers of all ages will enjoy this story and the skill with which it is told.”
Sailing Magazine

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Wendy Hinman to present at the Cape Cod Maritime Museum 6/19, 4:30-6pm


Wendy Hinman will be presenting at the Cape Cod Maritime Museum in Hyannis Port on Cape Cod, Monday, June 19, 4:30-6pm http://www.capecodmaritimemuseum.org/
Cape Cod Maritime Museum

135 South Street
Hyannis, MA 02601
Tel: 508-775-1723

A shipwreck might end a dream of circumnavigating the globe. Not for the Wilcox family. To triumph, they must rebuild their boat on a remote Pacific island. Damage sustained on the reef and a lack of resources haunt them the rest of the way around the world as they face wild weather, pirates, gun boats, mines and thieves, and starvation in a trial that tests them to their limits. Come hear Wendy Hinman share this amazing story and that of her own voyage years later with one of the survivors.

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Wendy Hinman Presenting and signing Sea Trials at Titcombs Bookshop June 16

Friday 6/16 Titcombs Bookshop in E. Sandwiche on Cape Cod, Presentation and signing 2-3pm

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Book Signing Eight Cousins in Cape Cod June 17th


What better gift for Dad for father’s day than a seafaring adventure story?

Wendy Hinman will be signing books on Saturday June 17th from 2-4pm in Falmouth, MA. Come visit this charming local book store and buy him a gift that he’ll remember: a personally autographed copy of this exciting story.

189 Main St Falmouth, MA 02540 | 508.548.5548 | books@eightcousins.com

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Celebrate Sailing with Summer Sailstice June 24/25

Find an event near you, or be the spark and organize an event yourself. You can win prizes just by signing up and entering one of our many contests. Add your Sailstice sailing plans, and you could win a Sunsail Charter, or any of dozens of other prizes! Find out more here: http://www.summersailstice.com/

Among the many great prizes, Wendy Hinman will be giving away two sets of her books. Enter today for a chance to win a copy of Tightwads on the Loose and Sea Trials.

Wendy Hinman will be spending her Summer Sailstice signing books at one of her favorite maritime venues, The Savoy Bookshop in Westerly, Rhode Island from 3-5pm during her East Coast Book Tour. Look for her at other venues on the Cape and in sailing hotspots along the coasts of Massachusetts and Connecticut.

http://www.summersailstice.com/prize/wendy-hinman

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