Books: Sea Over Bow – A North Atlantic Crossing

Portimao Portugal

May 13, 2021

A book by: Linda Kenyon Review by Katherine Stone

Portimao, Portugal

She never imagined herself on a sailboat, much less in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

“… a wave breaks right over us with a mighty crash. The boat shudders sickeningly, then is still for a moment, and water pours out through the scuppers. Then it all starts again. What am I doing here? I could be back at my condo right now, sitting beside the fire, a glass of wine in hand, a big fat book open on my lap.”

The book is artfully written from the first chapter, beginning from May 22 to June 16 and followed by Landfall and finally, Hard Aground. At times, you have to remind yourself that this is a true story as it jumps back and forth from the Atlantic Crossing to her previous life on land. Kidney disease and the ramifications of life after a transplant have caused her marriage of twenty-five years to fall apart. It has been hard to get her life back on track and regain a sense of belonging.

When she and Brad got married, his father had, “…hoped for more for their only son; a girl from a good farm family, someone from their church, at least. I was glad I didn’t have to face his mother….” As it turned out, she really wasn’t cut out to be a farm wife and there never seemed to be a place for her.

At Seaat sea

There are heartfelt letters of support and emotion between Linda and her sister Brenda written from the sea where she tries to find a place for herself. She wrote, ´The longing to belong somewhere was so powerful I think you felt it too, didn’t you? How could we not? I counted once – by the time I was nineteen, we had moved seventeen times. But I wonder if that’s just how it is; that we all long for a home that never really existed. People remember all the good things about their childhoods, forget the bad. Though in our case there’s not that much to feel nostalgic about.” Linda keeps returning to the slow decline of Brad’s health and the final blow when he tells her to get on with her life, that he doesn’t want her help anymore.

Unexpectedly she meets Chris in the grocery store and then buys a condo unit in an old school in Waterloo as she is starting to put her life back into perspective and start anew. Through a series of unplanned encounters they get to know each other and she finally asks, “I don’t get this boat thing. Tell me about it.” Everything changes for a new beginning in her life when Chris says, “You should come sailing with me sometime.”

QCYC Torontoat home at QCYC, Toronto

Leaving Lake Erie and motoring down the Erie Canal to the Hudson River, they arrived in New York and hugged the shore, into the Intracoastal Waterway down to Florida. From there it was an easy trip to the Bahamas and then island hopping to the British Virgin Islands and finally arriving in Antigua. Provisioning for the trip across the Atlantic was a real shocker when the grocery bill came to $2,197.00. After taking a full day to transport all the provisions to the boat, one dingy load after the other, and then store them, they were exhausted. Check and re-check all working boat parts, the weather, and then the next stop was the Azores – a mere 2,300 miles away. Linda, hardly knowing the difference between windward/leeward and halyards/sheets, sets out with Chris for the Azores in the first part of June. As Chris described it, “100 miles a day, that’s twenty-three days at sea. Make it twenty-five. We should count on a storm every five days, easy sailing two days out of five, and rougher weather the other two.“

Linda marvels at how Chris can sleep through anything when he is off watch. Constantly surveying the horizon when she is on watch, every light that she sees sets her nerves on edge. “What are you doing out here? You’re afraid of everything.”

Sea Over Bow – A North Atlantic Crossing is a most wonderful read from cover to cover, that will capture your heart and give you a sense of blue water sailing at its best, worst, awe-inspiring and frightening moments.

Available at Nautical Mind, Chapters, Amazon for under $20

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