Book Reviews

Book Review: Winter in Fireland.

The author, an Englishman who taught school in Buenos Aires, and who was later hired by the Canadian Foreign Service, describes his sailing adventure with his wife Jane, as crew, from Capetown, South Africa to southern Chile via the Patagonian channel.

He and his wife had sailed around the world previously in another boat and are familiar with circumnavigational sailing in a small boat.

The couple decided to undertake this unique trip by first buying a 27 foot Vancouver designed boat in Capetown, where he was working as a consular employee. Then extensive preparations started by buying navigational maps and equipment.

The couple sailed to Luderitz in Namibia, crossed the Tropic of the Capricorn and anchored in St. Helena, where Napoleon was imprisoned and was buried. The journey followed a southerly direction to Rio de Janeiro, followed by Mar del Plata in Argentina, Puerto Deseado, Ushuaia then took a westerly route to the Patagonian channel in Chile.

This is a well researched and well written account of their sailing interspersed with some sightseeing. It is informative, enjoyable and interesting, even if you are not a sailor.

The narrative gives a fascinating insight into the motivation, preparation, challenges, hazards, setbacks, uncertainties, and to a large extent skills to improvise when large or small and unexpected calamites materialize.

The reader gets the feeling of sailing along with the couple reading page after page eagerly to find out what happens next.

There is a compelling account of the tragic demise of Yaghan tribes of southern Chile, who were hunted, then forced to convert to Christianity by missionaries.

The author has written a book on several levels with a perfect ending to a gripping adventure with his pen and sail.

Highly recommended for adventurous sailors and even for those who are not sailors.