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The Way of a Ship:
Derek Lundy's follow-up to his bestseller Godforsaken Sea is yet another well-told, tension-filled sailing adventure. Based on scraps of information the author has pieced together about his seafaring great-great uncle, The Way of a Ship imagines a trip aboard a massive square-rigger, the Beara Head, hauling coal from Liverpool, England, to Valparaíso, Chile, in 1885. While Lundy knows that his uncle was indeed a seaman on such a trip, the details are provided solely from the author's imagination, based on his obviously vast knowledge of the subject matter.
Though there are challenges throughout the journey, it is Cape Horn, at the tip of South America, that provokes the most fear: "The crew of the Beara Head have been working the ship off the Horn for 39 days, trying to get past this most troublesome of capes. In this austral winter of 1885, the westerly gales have come on them one after the other, no breathers in between. The six-week campaign has changed the men." The narrative of the voyage is also filled with detailed descriptions of life aboard a working square-rigger--descriptions that paint a miserable picture. It was a hard life with few monetary rewards. To better understand this hardship, Lundy sails around Cape Horn himself, encountering the horrific weather and personal privations that come with life at sea. While the interspersed chapters that detail Lundy's own experiences provide additional context for his tale, they also break up the continuity of it. Nonetheless, The Way of a Ship successfully conveys the allure and excitement--even in the face of tremendous hardship--that sailing offers the human spirit. --Adem Tepedelen [via]