Book Review - A Passion for the Sea by Jimmy Cornell

A Passion for the Sea This is an excellent book and very different from Jimmy Cornell’s more well-known books World Cruising Routes and World Cruising Destinations.

A Passion for the Sea is a bit hard to describe because the book is packed with stories, advice and tips from Cornell’s lifetime of cruising.

Not only does the author draw on his experience from three circumnavigations and voyages to the Arctic and Antarctic, but he also shares lessons from some of cruising’s institutions which he founded: the Atlantic Rally for Cruising  (ARC), World Cruising Rallies and Noonsite.

It is a great book to pick up, open anywhere and read. And each time you open it, you will learn something new.

I certainly enjoy it for the stories – of voyages and ports, of cruising as a family, and of Jimmy Cornell’s early pre-sailing years in Romania and England. Jimmy Cornell’s life was excellent reading even before he first set sail, and even my non-boating family members and friends have been very moved by this section of the book. I particularly enjoyed reading about the preparations for and trip to Antarctica on Aventura III (great photos!).

But A Passion for the Sea is also filled with practical advice about all aspects of sailing and cruising.

Want to know how Cornell anchors? He tells you. What system of watches does he use when sailing with family or crew? He details what he does and why. What does he carry in his abandon ship bag? What does he do when he lays up the boat ashore or afloat? What gear does he consider essential? How did they educate their children aboard? What criteria has he used in choosing his boats?

I think it might take you years to fully absorb the full range of practical advice offered in A Passion for the Sea. Many chapters offer lists of Tips or To Dos for various situations.

Perhaps this might be the best way to describe A Passion for the Sea: It is as if you were invited to crew with Jimmy Cornell, learning as you traveled the many skills needed to be a successful world cruiser.

Jimmy Cornell is generous in sharing the experiences from 200,000 miles of cruising that inform his decisions. But there is always time aboard for great stories – the ones that inspire us to get out there and visit the many ports that he introduced us to.

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