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Written in Water: An Uncharted Life Aboard a Wooden Boat
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 23, 2012
Loads of people dream of starting fresh, running off and letting their hearts and dreams guide them for better or for worse...here's a girl who actually went ahead and did it. This sailing story isn't all perfect anchorages and smooth sailing, it is a real picture of the mental and physical joys and pains of living on a wooden boat. Hurrah for a great read from a tough-as-hell Nova Scotian sailor!
Read this book. Plan on doing nothing else until you've finished it, and be prepared to be inspired.
Thank you Laura!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2012
A great summer read. Follows the life of a young woman who throws caution to the wind and follows her dreams of living life on the seas. Makes you want to give up the 9-5 for the freedom she enjoys. You can really feel her heartfelt emotions through the book as she struggles with everything from physical strength to emotional breakdown while learning the ropes on a wooden sailboat. Highly recommended.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2014
Written in Water is the story of Laura McCrossin after she has completed a degree in chemistry. She has no previous sailing experience, but manages to get on-board of a large sailing ship, and crews large boats for a couple of years. That does not seem to have prepared her for sailing her own boat though.

After some years she returns to Halifax, and sees what she calls "a small boat." This appears to be a Rosborough 40 feet two-master, not what people would usually call small, but I assume after her big sailing boat experience it so appeared to her. From here on the book becomes a manual in what not to do, and gives ample demonstrations of how modern equipment could have been helpful, if only she would have had them. And with modern equipment I mean anything invented after a rock on a string to find depth.

She manages to get a loan, and sets off. The first problem here is perhaps getting a loan to buy a boat. If you need a loan to purchase the boat you want to have, it's probably better to buy the boat you can afford. The second problem is that after the purchase she sets off with "no charts, no idea how to get out of Purcell's Cove, no radar, and in the thick of fog." We learn later she also doesn't have a working depth finder, or UHF. She does not appear to learn from these experiences, as in the rest of the book she frequently laments the predicaments she gets herself into by saying if she only had charts. Or, I suggest, an inexpensive chart plotter.

After some time she leaves Canada, going South. She arrives at New Jersey using "a rock on a string" for depth finding, although we read this is later upgraded to "a proper lead line." She makes it as far South as the Bahamas, with some interruptions to earn money, and a sailing excursion in Canada itself, before finally sailing back from Miami to Canada. The boat does get very little maintenance, she complains about herself for not doing much.

At Isla Mujeres she beaches herself. It's at that point she complains: "I sat back in amazement as four men argued and schemed and theorized, ignoring every word the 'wife' of the Captain of Annie Laurie (as I had quickly been sized up to be) was calmly trying to request they do." She mentions the shaking of the head of men about a woman sailing alone a couple of times actually. But the observant reader will notice that her strategy for getting out of difficult situations, be it sailing, starting the engine after having emptied the battery, fixing the auto pilot, electronic depth finder, getting off the beach after being stranded, is relying on men. Even for getting dinners as her stove isn't working properly either, and she seems to survive on eating bread and peanut butter.

Harbour towns are classified into "dry" and not, and then in how many liquor stores they have, and if there's one next to where you do the grocery shopping. The amount of alcohol consumed doesn't indeed seem to leave much time for boat maintenance, learning how to change a diesel filter, or some forethought about getting charts for the next location.

The book contains some "philosophy of life," but men drift in and out of her life with as little forethought being giving to sleeping with someone as getting charts. The reader expects shipwreck, literally and morally any time, but surprisingly the book ends on a positive note. But the reader is left to wonder if this relation will last as long as any electronics that the men repair aboard her boat.

But I do not want to end on a sour note: she does something what many men fail to do: she actually sails! She doesn't keep earning money and spending money to repair the boat, but takes it from the mooring, and heads over the horizon. If she gets into a difficult situation, she manages to deal with it, and get out of it. And that is surely the mark of a successful sailor.

About the Kindle Edition: there is no table of contents, and the book has no chapters, and very little formatting.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2012
Just finished Written in Water and Im blown away!!! How refreshing it is to read about a young woman making her way thru the world with such vigor and self reliance. It's such a facinating story about courage and determination and her will to live an "unchartered" life. This book is a must read for all women its message is timeless, when a woman sets her mind to it she can achive anything and quite possibly even find true love in the most unexpected time of her life! May Annie Laurie sail forever.
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