Ready to Come About

by Williams, Sue

(1 customer review)

CAD $20.99

With no affinity for the sea and not a single adventure-seeking bone in her body, Sue Williams headed off into the North Atlantic in the wake of a perfect storm of personal events. Two things were clear to her: her sons were adults and needed freedom to figure things out for themselves, and it was now or never for her husband to realize his dream to cross an ocean under sail.

ISBN 10: 1459743903
ISBN 13: 9781459743908
Pages: 304
Published: 2019
Format: softcover
Category: .
Tags: , .

1 review for Ready to Come About

  1. Bruce Conron

    This is the story of Sue and David’s amazing adventure. After experiencing two major traumas, one physical, the other emotional, fifty-something David persuades his wife that this would be the right time to remove themselves from the stressful life that had brought him down, leave their respective workplace moorings indefinitely, sell the house, distance themselves literally as well as figuratively from their three grown sons, each finding his own course in life, and embrace offshore sailing; in fact, cross the North Atlantic in their soon-to-be acquired Alberg 37 yawl. Sue is dubious at first but realizes that this has been David’s dream all along. Over a period of exactly 365 days – Sue keeps a meticulous log – they cast off from Hamilton Harbour, sail by trial and error to the Azores, carry on to Portugal, then turn around and navigate their way celestially to the Madeiran Islands, the Canaries, and the Cape Verdes, before the long but rapturous passage with favourable trade winds to Tortola, north via the ICW and homeward through the Erie Canal. Along the way they encounter and surmount all manner of troubles aboard, the most disconcerting being an exploding holding tank. David is a master of jury-rigging, detailed in Sue’s masterful prose. He is also an amateur of the Portuguese language. His conversations with the locals – he discovers he is speaking the Brazilian dialect – at each port of call and their associations with the fraternity of oceanic sailors found there are abundant sources of humour. About the very apt title: halfway through the book, a serious leak in the stuffing box three days from Sao Miguel in the Azores to Portugal forces a critical decision. David opts for turning Inia around. After all, it’s triple the distance to the mainland. Sue argues cogently that the winds are more favourable to carrying on easterly. “David studied my face, then smiled. “Prepare to come about,” he said, reaching for the port jib sheet. Firming up the starboard jib sheet, I responded, “Ready to come about.” The phrase is a metaphor for a lot of what is happening to Sue in this memoir. In the course of reading the book, I came across the ‘Experience’ feature in the January 2020 SAIL magazine. A relatively inexperienced skipper and his young family were making their maiden transat cruise to the Azores in 20+ knots of wind when his substandard carbon fiber genoa began to delaminate and subsequently disable the forestay. They managed this crisis. In his words, it “made our arrival into the Azores all the sweeter, and what made that possible was a never give up-attitude. When you are in a situation that you cannot walk away from, even if you want to, it’s amazing what ideas present themselves. I believe anyone who tackles cruising with this mindset, is halfway there. There’s a lot to be said for the old saying…try, try again.” I’m sure Sue would say amen to that.

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