The book tells how Jackie Parry having tragically lost her fiancee at a young age, ran away, quickly found a new love and took to the high seas with zilch experience, sailed around the planet over an nine year period and eventually became a professional Captain and qualified maritime teacher.
Anyone suffering the loss of a loved one deals with the void in their own way, and there is no right or wrong way. There is, however, a more conventional way than running away 12,000 miles from your home and successful career to meet a new life partner within a few days of arrival and changing career from an office in London to a new life sailing a 10 metre yacht from Australia around the globe over an eight year period.
The book goes on to describe almost nine years at sea, circumnavigating the globe, initially learning how to sail from scratch, navigate, service a diesel engine, and generally live a new life at sea with a man she barely knew. It tells of her fears and bouts of terrible seasickness on the one hand, but the sheer joy of new found friendships and discovering new destinations on the other. It is truly a “warts an all” account of life at sea.
Jackie is quite clearly a lady of steely determination and one who doesn’t suffer fools, but also one who loves a good time and one who fell in love with a very capable man who quickly became her soulmate.
Their strong sense of teamwork was the first aspect which struck me, a necessary trait when sailing just doublehanded across the oceans. They both quickly built up a deep sense of trust in each other, again vital on a small sailing yacht, and on the long voyages it was clear that they didn’t spend that much time with each other as the 4 hour watches determined that each of them came on deck as the other was going sleeping. These quiet times on deck probably helped Jackie to put her previous tragedy further to the back of her mind and became her coping mechanism.
The book gives a great insight into just how quickly Jackie was learning all aspects of the cruising life and also how frugal one needs to be when cruising on a tiny income and limited savings. It was also , of course, a great journey of discovery, visiting remote islands and destinations not on the normal tourist trail.
The descriptions of their many voyages were clear and graphic, giving the reader good insight as to just how they were living day to day as they went around the globe. If I had to be critical of any part of the book, it would be their time in the waters of the USA which I felt were skimmed over rather too quickly.
Other than that, it is a book I would certainly recommend, especially if the thought of a circumnavigation on a small yacht is on your bucket list !
It’s available on Amazon, Kindle (for around EU3.50) and paperback (for around EU15.50). Also available at Barnes and Noble and other large retailers like Book Depository, Foyles. Also available from sailingbooks.co.uk
by Jackie Parry