After another year of Covid lockdowns, the escape to fresh-air therapy in the form of the summer cruise aboard your own or a friend’s boat is certainly alluring!

To be properly prepared for this well-deserved outing, a good stack of summer reading for the boat’s library is a must. And if the lockdowns continue – well then, they will probably be even more welcome!

NEW BOOKS

SALT IN OUR BLOOD BY IVOR WILKINS (RNZYS 2021)
Acclaimed yachting writer Ivor Wilkins has just finished a threeyear labour of love. It’s the epic and eventful history of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, from its beginnings in 1871 to the most recent adventure, the successful defence of the America’s Cup in May 2021. Impressively illustrated with fine photographs, as all Ivor’s books are, Salt in Our Blood marks the 150th anniversary of the RNZYS. And as Ivor remarks modestly of the tome, “Perfect for taking to sea, because if people don’t enjoy reading it, at 3kg it is still useful as extra ballast in the bilge.” I don’t think so. This will be a fascinating read…


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VOYAGERS: THE SETTLEMENT OF THE PACIFIC BY NICHOLAS THOMAS (HEAD OF ZEUS, 2021)
A favourite this year of Jenny Nicholls, book reviewer for The Listener and the Waiheke Weekender. Her brief blurb; “Gorgeously illustrated and fascinating littl hardback.”

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MANA WHAKATIPU NGĀI TAHU LEADER MARK SOLOMON ON LEADERSHIP AND LIFE BY TĀ (SIR) MARK SOLOMON AND MARK REVINGTON. (MASSEY UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2012)
In the surprise basket: Mana Whakatipu Ngāi Tahu leader Mark Solomon on leadership and life by Tā (Sir) Mark Solomon and Mark Revington. (Massey University Press, 2012). Jenny Nicholls remarks, “Absolutely hilarious and brilliant from a former metal worker who made Ngāi Tahu into a powerhouse. It’s not at all what you might expect.”

AFTER DARK: WALKING INTO THE NIGHTS OF AOTEAROA BY ANNETTE LEES (POTTON & BURTON, 2021)
“Just the most beautifully written book about the NZ environment,” says Jenny. “Annette Lees walks us into the nights of Aotearoa. In the company of bats, owls, moths and seabirds, she guides us from dusk to dawn with fascinating night stories: tales of war stealth and ghosts; nights lit by candles and lighthouses; night surfing, fishing, diving and skiing; mountain walking and night navigation on ocean voyaging waka,” says the publisher.

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NEWISH BOOKS

OUR BIG BLUE BACKYARD BY JANET HUNT (RANDOM HOUSE NZ, 2014)
This modern classic would be a timely re-read, given the current concerns over the state of our coastal waters – and many community efforts to recover lost biodiversity. Our Big Blue Backyard (Random House NZ, 2014), by award-winning writer Janet Hunt is a must for any boat venturing out in to our big blue backyard.

OCEAN BY SARAH ELL (PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE, 2018)
A great collection by Sarah Ell, One of Boating NZ’s writers, Ocean (Penguin Random House, 2018). It sure lives up to its cover blurb: “Ocean is a spirited collection of historical tales, a landmark book about how the ocean has shaped New Zealand and its people.” By the way, Sarah is busy working on a fascinating historical novel, inspired by her research into strong Kiwi women for Ocean.

YOUNG READERS

A DEFINITELY DIFFERENT SUMMER BY ELIZABETH PULFORD (BATEMAN BOOKS 2021)
Perfect title, perfect setting. A Definitely Different Summer (Bateman Books 2021) by Kiwi author Elizabeth Pulford and illustrated by me ol’ shipmate Mike Colding. An adventure yarn based on the real shipwreck of the Tararua in Southland in 1881.

CLASSICS

Then there are the classics that every boat’s library should have:

Pickmere’s Atlas (of the NE coast); D’Arcy Whiting’s Coastal Cruising Handbook; Raewyn Peart’s The Story of the Hauraki Gulf, and Brian Peet’s Des Townson: A Sailing Legacy.

Last word from writer and reader Ivor Wilkins: “I love the oldies, like Joshua Slocum’s Sailing Alone Around the World, the incredible Shackleton story Endurance, Kiwi solo sailor David Lewis’ Icebird, which tells of his circumnavigation of Antarctica, Robin Knox- Johnson’s A World of my Own. Real pioneering adventure.”