Book Review: Tightwads on the Loose, by Wendy Hinman

Tightwads on the Loose After finishing Wendy Hinman’s Tightwads on the Loose, I placed it on my bookshelf next to Jana Cawrse Esarey’s  The Motion of the Ocean and Torre DeRoche’s Swept: Love with a Chance of Drowning,  because, like those two books,  Tightwads on the Loose is a brightly-written sailing memoir by a young female cruiser from America’s West Coast.

All three books speak for a younger generation who choose to reach for the adventure of crossing oceans and exploring new cultures sooner rather than later, who go despite tight budgets in small, uncomplicated boats without waiting for the comforts and wallets of middle age, and who, because they are women, don’t gloss over the challenging dynamics of relationships shared and tested in the intense intimacy of cruising 24/7 in the confines of a small vessel

There are several differences, however, between Tightwads on the Loose and the other two books.

Wendy HinmanThe chief one is that while Janna and Torre spent much of their time pondering the degree (and sanity) of their commitment to the cruising endeavor (while largely relying on their more experienced partners), Wendy is a full-fledged collaborator from the start.

She, too, has a serious, more experienced sailor for a husband, but from the start she is in it to win it. You might say that Janna and Torre are (or at least start out as) girly girls, but Wendy makes you believe that she was infected by a taste for adrenalin since childhood, inculcated, she insists, by her father’s library of disaster-at-sea stories.

I was thrilled at last to read a contemporary sailing saga where the woman aboard is so fully engaged.

Another difference is that Tightwads  is the account of a longer, seven year cruise (pushing northward into the north Pacific,  Micronesia, the Phillipines, China and Japan), an itinerary that required Wendy and Garth to stop and work several times along the way to replenish the cruising kitty and make repairs.  Earning money is an issue many young couples considering cruising ask about, and this  couple’s resourcefulness in finding employment should be inspirational as well as entertaining.

One might think, because all three authors set sail across the Pacific from the West coast, that the stories could feel repetitive.  Certainly there are harbors all three visit, especially in the first legs of the journey, but it is testimony to the uniqueness of every cruise that each landfall feels fresh, each new character encountered a privilege to meet, and every adventure a stimulant to get out and do it yourself!

Tightwads on the Loose: A Seven Year Pacific Odyssey is available through the Tightwads on the Loose eStore, through your independent bookseller or

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