Sea Trials garners another glowing review from Voyages Magazine

“Hinman skillfully draws the reader in. We found Sea Trials compelling and far more than just a sea story. We discussed as we were reading it and long after we finished.” Voyages Magazine

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“Good Armchair Read”

Review by Shirley A. McElhaney

“Have you ever dreamed of giving up your job and “running away,” letting the kids leave the school room for a year?

And, love to sail…….sail around the world? If so, this is the book for you. Travel with this family on their sail boat as they survive an ocean storm, become stranded on an island. Learn island customs, repairing a sail boat, experience the beauty of the night sky as Mother, Father and teenage son and daughter learn about pulling together as a family. Good armchair read.”

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Sea Trials Review in Good Old Boat Magazine

Review by David McDaniel

Sea Trials: Around the World with Duct Tape and Bailing Wire, by Wendy Hinman (Salsa Press 2017; print $20.00, Kindle $5.99)

“Sea Trials: Around the World with Duct Tape and Bailing Wire is a real rattlesnake of a tale chronicling the adventures, and misadventures, of the Wilcox family as they sail their way around the world in the early 70s. Leaving a comfortable home behind, the family makes their way out of San Francisco Bay aboard their 40-foot wooden sailboat, Vela, bound for Hawaii and all points beyond. And who better to pen the Wilcox’s story than Wendy Hinman, now spouse of Garth Wilcox, who later relived a similar voyage with Garth aboard a 31-footer? Considering her intimate connection, the story of the Wilcox’s circumnavigation surely took form for the author via bits and pieces related by each family member over time – especially by Garth, the one participant for whom the family’s adventure ultimately rang loudest.

What results is this fine tale of a close-knit family who chose to challenge the status quo by seeking a lifestyle different from the nine-to-five hum-drum for which so many others trade dreams. Chuck and Dawn’s disillusionment with their slice of American pie, combined with Chuck’s love of sailing and Dawn’s thirst for experiencing the world firsthand with their two children, Garth and Linda, fueled their sailing adventure. On their way to Hawaii, the voyaging neophytes manage well and gain valuable blue-water experience that they rely upon throughout their rollercoaster-ride around the world.

Hinman’s storytelling does well to connect her reader to the family’s journey – the ups and downs of sailing on a big ocean (of which there are plenty), the trials of negotiating unfamiliar cultures across a variety of countries as they follow their route, the confined quality of life for four people aboard a small yacht with only one partially-operating head. The Wilcox’s story is both fulfilling and heartbreaking. One cannot help but become emotionally enthralled by this endeavoring group as they take their knocks and reap the rewards from a life hard-earned in an unforgiving environment.

The apex of the tale for the reader is ironically the lowest point of the journey for the intrepid family, as they find themselves unimaginably shipwrecked on a deserted island in the South Pacific. Just surviving the ordeal was astonishing. That they picked themselves up and literally dusted themselves off to continue voyaging is a testament to their wherewithal, resourcefulness, and determination, if not naiveté. What better qualities are needed for luring a reader into a great tale?”

David McDaniel grew up in Florida, swimming and fishing from his family’s Boston Whaler in the warm coastal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Once surfing grabbed his attention, he learned to sail a Hobie 16, the perfect vehicle for finding surf breaks on secluded barrier islands (and for learning valuable sailing lessons he’s retained to this day). David currently lives in Southern California with his wife, Minyoung, and two stoked children, sharing his love of the water with them. The family races their Sabot and Lido 14 in Marina del Rey and regularly crews on a variety of sailboats as they chase adventures across Santa Monica Bay and points beyond.

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Wendy Hinman presents at 2018 Seattle Boat Show

Hope to see you at the 2018 Seattle Boat Show! January 26-February 3

Picture of the Seattle Boat Show

The West Coast's Largest Boat Show - the Seattle Boat Show, Indoors + Afloat - kicks off January 26 and runs through February 3, 2018. The Seattle Boat Show features ~1,000 boats for every budget designed to meet every recreational need featured at CenturyLink Field, plus world class yachts, trawlers and more at South Lake Union. The show, the largest on the West Coast, features a free shuttle service between the two venues. For more information, visit

Come visit Wendy Hinman at the Captains Nautical Supply booth at the top of the concourse steps to get a personally autographed copy of her two hit books. Or find her in the seminar room. Seminar schedule:

Captain's Nautical Supply Logo

Sunday Jan 28, 10:15am: Sea Trials: Around the World with Duct Tape and Bailing Wire

Monday Jan 29th, 2:15pm: Living Without Refrigeration

Monday Jan 29th, 3:15pm: Panel on Writing About Your Boating Adventures

Saturday Feb 3, 11am: Tips and Tricks for Cruising

For more information about seminars, please visit:

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Wendy Hinman Interviews with Sail-World

Read the full interview with, in which Tightwads on the Loose is described as “a book that has become something of a cult classic amongst the literary world of cruising sailors.” Link here.

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Sea Trials wins Kirkus Best Book of 2017!

It’s now official!

Sea Trials was awarded the Kirkus best book of the year for 2017. Kirkus is the premier reviewing agency. Earning a starred review is considered a big deal. Sea Trials received that and was selected best book of the month for April. So I knew It had a crack at winning best book of the year. But actually winning it? Wow!!!

If that isn’t something to celebrate, what is? Time to raise a champagne toast!

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A shipwreck might end a dream of sailing around the world. Not for the Wilcox family.

In 1973, the Wilcox family sets off to sail around the world aboard the 40-foot sailboat, Vela. Thirteen months later, they are shipwrecked on a coral reef, with surf tearing a huge hole in the side of their boat.

After years invested in saving money, preparing the boat, and learning to navigate by the stars, parents Chuck and Dawn refuse to give up. Fourteen-year-old Garth is determined to continue, while eleven-year-old Linda never wanted to go in the first place. Can they overcome the emotional, physical and financial challenges to transform from castaways into circumnavigators?

To triumph, these pioneers 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 daunting obstacles, including wild weather, pirates, gun boats, mines and thieves plus pesky bureaucrats and cockroaches as stubborn as this family. Without a working engine and no way to communicate with the outside world, they struggle to reach home before their broken rig comes crashing down and they run out of food on a trial that tests them to their limits.

Read an excerpt of Sea Trials from Sail Magazine Dec 2017 issue.

SEPTEMBER 19, 1974, 0400 …


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“Riveting. Sea Trials is impossible to put down until the nail-biting end.” Cruising World Magazine

Sea Trials Review in Cruising World
September 2017

“In 1973, a San Francisco family departed on a planned four-year round-the-world voyage. The Wilcox crew—Chuck; his wife, Dawn; their kids, Garth, 13 and Linda, 10—set sail with varying degrees of enthusiasm (at a time when world cruising was uncommon and offshore navigation was celestial) to fulfill what was primarily Chuck’s lifelong dream. The book’s title hints at what’s to come. With significant textbook preparation and training but not offshore or shakedown cruising aboard their 40-foot wood Maine Pinky, Vela, the voyage itself becomes a series of sea trials. There are pleasures and many pitfalls, including a near-disastrous shipwreck on a Pacific reef and the painstaking salvage and repair of Vela in a remote port.

The author, an experienced sailor who is married to the now-adult Garth, tells this riveting tale with objective skill and restraint in terms of both shifting family dynamics as the cruise progresses and what might (or should) have been done differently. Even as the family builds seamanship skills, readers will likely find themselves bracing (or judging) what comes next, yet it’s impossible not to care about them and the outcome. This tale of a circumnavigation that ultimately took five years, completed against all odds, is full or real-life drama and “lessons learned” – a feat of perseverance fueled by determination. It is impossible to put down until the nail-biting end.”

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Wendy Hinman to Present At Cruisers University at the Annapolis Boat Show

Wendy Hinman is a regular speaker on preparing yourself and boat for offshore voyaging at yacht clubs and boat shows around the country, including the Strictly Sail Boat Show, Seattle Boat Show, Wooden Boat Festival and others. She has published articles in a variety of publications and is the award-winning author of two books: Tightwads on the Loose and Sea Trials.

At Cruiser’s University, she will present on: Keeping Your Relationship Afloat

A happy crew makes for a happy voyage. Venturing offshore in a small boat puts new pressures on even well-established relationships. Don’t let 24/7 start feeling like a life sentence. Learn techniques for addressing the diverse needs of a crew and dissipating tension aboard so that you can enjoy the places you visit and the unusual way of traveling there. Wendy Hinman, award winning author of Tightwads on the Loose and Sea Trials, shares the wisdom she gathered during her 7-year 34,000 mile voyage aboard her 31-foot cutter as well as years racing in all manner of boats with her husband and others. She discusses how to find balance in a small, sometimes violently rocking environment, while facing the new challenges that cruising can present.

Presented by: Wendy Hinman

Wendy Hinman grew up sailing and has been sailing for more than 40 years. She taught sailing in the Chesapeake Bay and has cruised and raced in venues around the globe in all sorts of boats as skipper and crew, sometimes winning. She spent seven years at sea, sailing 34,000 miles aboard her 31 foot cutter, Velella, with her husband. She enjoyed it so much, she never wanted to stop voyaging. You can read about her adventures in Tightwads on the Loose, which has earned rave reviews and won awards. Her second book, Sea Trials, details the story of the Wilcox family’s determined quest to circumnavigate despite being shipwrecked. Of Sea Trials, Sailing Magazine writes “A captivating narrative, full of suspense and colorful descriptions … Readers of all ages will enjoy this story and the skill with which it is told.” You can learn more on Wendy Hinman and her writing on her website and read snippets from her voyage blog at She and her husband are currently building a boat for more cruising adventures.

Classes: Keeping Your Relationship Afloat

For the full schedule of classes, please visit:

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Wendy Hinman Presents at 2017 Wooden Boat Festival

Wendy Hinman will be presenting and signing books at the 2017 41st annual Wooden Boat Festival.

It’s a weekend full of fun, with music, food, presentations, plays, merchandise displays and hundreds of wooden boats! Come see the gorgeous wooden classics. Here are the boats that will be in the 2017 festival.

Presentations are a huge part of the Wooden Boat Festival. Since the very first Festival in 1977, there has been a strong educational component. Last year 5400 people attended presentations on 7 stages.
Ace Spragg has booked an impressive cadre of speakers to enrich this year’s festival. View the full list of presenters here.

For the full schedule, visit: For more details about the festival produced by the Port Townsend Maritime Center, visit

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