Sea Trials: Around the World with Duct Tape and Bailing Wire by Wendy Hinman


Sea Trials named a Kirkus Best Book of the Month and Kirkus Best Book of the Year!
Read the Kirkus Starred Review.

Sea Trials tells the gripping story of a family in a tireless quest to sail around the world despite daunting challenges including a shipwreck, rebuilding a boat on a remote island, and threats from wild weather, pirates, gun boats, mines and thieves, a broken rig, scurvy and starvation. Sea Trials is a timeless story of struggle in the pursuit of a dream and overcoming obstacles, with glimpses of the fascinating cultures they encounter and enough levity to keep readers of all ages hooked to a suspenseful, satisfying ending.

Sea Trials: Around the World with Duct Tape and Bailing Wire
by Wendy Hinman, award-winning author of Tightwads on the Loose
(Genre: Travel, Biography, True-life adventure, family drama, sailing)
ISBN 978-09848350-3-4
Paperback edition 434 Pages, including photographs and a glossary
Salsa Press Paperback $19.99 (2017), eBook $5.99 (2017), Audiobook $24.99 (2022)

This gripping story will appeal to readers of all ages: adults, young adults, and even kids.

The full description:

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.


Shipwreck! Read an Excerpt of Sea Trials from Sail Magazine Dec 2017 issue.

Advance Reviews:

“. . . The author’s expressive writing captures the wonder of being at sea in all its glory. . . her engaging narrative succeeds in capturing the thrills and frustrations of this intrepid family. Taking in remarkably far-flung destinations such as Christmas Island and the New Hebrides, this exhilarating book should appeal to any would-be explorer who has stood at the prow of a ship and dreamed of the possibilities. Highly readable and sufficiently evocative to sense the scent of sea air in the pages.—Kirkus Reviews (starred review). *Selected Kirkus Book of the Month and Kirkus Best Book of 2017.

Named a Foreword Reviews Best Book. “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, scurvy and starvation in a trial that tests them to their limits. A timeless true story of grit and resilience.”

“Five stars! Wow! What a story this is. Sea Trials: Around the World with Duct Tape and Bailing Wire by Wendy Hinman is an incredible tale of bravery, determination, and a strong will to win against all the odds and it is one of the best true-life stories I have read in a long while. The writing is amazing, it grips you from the start and is so descriptive that you truly feel as though you are battling each wave, fighting each fight and traveling every hard mile with the family. You can feel every emotion and I guarantee your teeth will be gritted and your fists clenched at several points during the story as you follow it. The story is fast and brilliantly written and I guarantee any reader will be hooked to the very end.”Readers Favorites Book Review; Winner Readers Favorite Book Award.

“A modern, swashbuckling adventure, Sea Trials: Around the World with Duct Tape and Bailing Wire will quickly transport readers through a fascinating, light read out to sea aboard the Vela.” — Seattle Book Review

“What a tale! The Wilcox family’s epic ‘round-tripper had me turning pages at flank speed. Wendy Hinman crafts a true-life adventure story as outlandish and memorable as The Swiss Family Robinson, with shipwreck, reefs, dengue fever, gun-toting soldiers, and teenagers who won’t do their homework.” —Bruce Barcott, author of Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw, The Measure of a Mountain, and Weed the People and a contributor to Outside Magazine

“A gripping tale of a family’s harrowing journey to sail around the world against seemingly insurmountable and deadly odds.” — Robert Dugoni, the #1 Amazon and #1 Wall Street Journal author of the bestselling Tracy Crosswhite series

“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

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

“In Sea Trials, fans of Tightwads will find the same conversational style, recounting another mix of mishaps, humor, and foreign-port intrigue. Even armchair sailors will feel their hearts race with the Wilcox family in the cockpit of their 40’ Maine pinky, VELA. Hinman delivers another book to let you sail away.” —Wooden Boat Magazine

“This true story of the Wilcox family is completely riveting and simultaneously insanely frustrating – which means it’s a great book! Hinman’s attention to little details like family squabbles and disagreements or stop-gap repairs make the whole trip vivid and real and their concerns intense. . . . you are intensely caught up in the family’s decisions and dilemmas while they are facing them and can sympathize with their recurrent optimism and desire to achieve their goal. Sea Trials immerses you in the Wilcox’s world as you share their great adventure, for good and ill. It is an adventure that, for readers, is well worth the trip.”— San Francisco Book Review

“Hinman’s award-winning books, Tightwads on the Loose and Sea Trials, document both adventures with honesty, humor, and spirit. Both books are a blast to read.” –Seattle Review of Books

“An Extraordinary Voyage. … Absorbing … Hinman brings the same meticulous research and attention to detail in her first book to “Sea Trials,” engagingly drawing readers into the daily trials and family dynamics that shaped the Wilcoxes’ taxing journey.” Three Sheets Northwest

“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

“Sea Trials is a skillfully told story of perseverance, ingenuity, and grit. Wendy Hinman is back with another gripping sea saga, one that’s vivid enough to make you feel you’re aboard the 40-foot Vela…or shipwrecked on a reef in Fiji. Hinman’s pacing keeps the story humming along and her eye for detail helps us savor the voyage. Brief, well-placed excerpts from the family’s letters read like gems in a treasure hunt.” —Janna Cawrse Esarey, author of Motion of the Ocean

“In a time before cell phones and laptops, the Wilcox family set out to sail around the world, but after a shipwreck, their adventure takes a dramatic detour. Thrilling, poignant, and hilarious moments surface as this family struggles to cope with each other, repair the wreck and most of all, to keep going. The only thing missing are recipes for their extreme-budget meals!” —Debra Daniels-Zeller author of The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook

“A satisfying read about the costs and rewards of human endeavor and the effects they have on a family.” —Jan Burak Schwert, author of Geezers’ Guide to the Galaxy: A Lifetime of Travel Encounters

“A nail-biting adventure story with thought-provoking lessons for today’s sailors.”
Elsie Hulsizer, author of Voyages to Windward and Glaciers, Bears and Totems

“Hinman has written a compelling story of a family’s quest to sail around the world, a trip that starts with equal parts of hope and hubris and becomes a survival tale as the family surmounts one obstacle after another to keep their ship afloat.” —Sharon L. Morris, Adventure Travel Writer, Author of Frank and Libbie

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Order it from Amazon here. Available via Ingram.

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