Book Review - Bull Canyon: A Boat Builder, A Writer and other Wildlife by Lin Pardey

Bull CanyonIn a foreword to her new book — Bull Canyon: A Boat Builder, A Writer and other Wildlife – Lin Pardey asks fans of her sailing adventures aboard Seraffyn to hang in with her through this transition book, the story of Lin and husband Larry’s four years ashore during construction of their new boat Taleisin.

Her fans should not be worried. These four years in an out-of-the way canyon in California, immersed in the strange culture of rural iconoclasts, trying to do their own thing, their own way, for as little money as possible, is as much an adventure as any they have had in foreign waters.

Bull CanyonAnd, Lin and Larry, endeavoring to build a new boat from scratch and doing it the hard way – far from boatyards, without even such fundamentals as mail, phone and electricity and in the face of adversities like flood, fire, and packrats – in their own fashion fit right in.

A cruiser’s openness to the other ways people choose to live, their readiness to band together to help neighbors in need, their gameness to throw together food and music to celebrate, well, just about anything, their focus on getting done what needs to be done, makes them good neighbors in the unusual community of Bull Canyon.

Lin PardeyBut this is a transition time for Lin and Larry in more ways than one. In addition to stepping up from a smaller boat to a larger one, it is a time set aside for Lin to step up to challenges she has set herself as a writer. Her goal is to actually support them with her craft while Larry exercises his in the boat shed. Lin explores those challenges – the doubts, the thrills, the ego bruises – with great honesty.

It also becomes a time for them both to reflect on things they left behind when they sailed away, decisions they made blithely in the flush of youth and love, conventions they have easily ignored. Those things range from connections to family, children and pets as well as to capital, place, conveniences and things. Land life, even the rugged version the Pardeys have opted for, has its seductions, and, despite good intentions not to get too attached to any of it, they do begin to put down roots.

Bull CanyonIt’s a hardly a spoiler to say they choose sailing again. We know that they do. The process by which they make this transition brings a new maturity to their choice of lifestyle and reaffirms its values, in particular the durability of cruising friendships, for all of us.

Lin and Larry’s satisfaction in each hard-wrought accomplishment – whether is it devising a means to bring running water to the cottage, producing a beautifully crafted rib for the boat, nurturing a garden from rocky soil, or completing a satisfying book project – reaffirms their commitment to their lifestyle choice and to each other.

It is always bittersweet to leave things behind, but when Taleisin rolls out of the boat shed, we feel along with Lin that frisson of excitement for what lies ahead.

Lin and Larry Pardey Return to US for Autumn Sail Boatshows and SSCA Gam

For the first time in seven years, the two voyagers and sailing authors who have been called, “the enablers” will be presenting seminars and participating at four Sailboat shows in September and October. They will also be signing copies of Lin’s latest book Bull Canyon, a Boatbuilder, a Writer and Other Wildlife. Just released this spring, Publishers Weekly labeled Bull Canyon “significant, highly romantic and admirable” and adds “readers may feel as if they’re following the fantastic adventures of an old friend.” Midwest Book Review calls Bull Canyon “A riveting memoir of a path less taken.”

Confirmed dates for these shows are:

Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival – September 8-11

Newport International Boat Show – September 15-18, booth and seminars hosted by Blue Water Sailing Magazine

Seven Seas Cruising Association – Annapolis Gam – September 23-25

United States Sailboat Show, Annapolis – October 6-10

Seminars hosted by Cruising World Magazine, Booth hosted by

Along with presenting seminars on several topics including, Storm Tactics, Writing and Video afloat, Cost control as you Cruise, Lin and Larry will be available for six hours each day during these shows and festivals to answer questions and sign books people wish to bring along. For descriptions of seminars and further information about these appearances, go to

Read also on this website

Lin Pardey  interviews 11 cruising couples fresh from their first major crossing – and finds out what they worried about and what they learned.

More information (external links)

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