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Notable New Books

Jan 1, 2003

Clean Sweet WindSailing with the Last Boatmakers of the Caribbean

by Douglas Pyle

In the early 1970s, the author sailed to dozens of islands in the Caribbean performing research on a topic that, although fascinating to him, seemed to have no practical significance. Douglas Pyle was obsessively interested in wooden sailboats, how they were built and by whom.More than 20 years later, Pyle gathered his old notes and drawings and has now produced a fine book of nautical history. His ability to capture the romantic atmosphere of a team of islanders building a wooden boat on a Caribbean beach delightfully transports the reader.To a wooden boat aficionado, what could be more fun than poking around dozens of construction sites that are littered with exotic hardwoods and are backdropped by the Caribbean blue? Pyle enjoyed his roaming adventures, and it is equally entertaining to join him on his humorous and historically significant voyage through Clean Sweet Wind.

Particularly interesting is a description of a group of shipwrights, who, while setting up a schooner's frames, peer at the azure horizon beyond for use as a level.

International Marine, Camden, Maine; 800-262-4729; 231 pages; $21.95.