Notable New Books
Northern Lights – A Voyage into Danger by Desmond Holdridge In the classic sense of seaborne adventure comes this tale of three fool hardy men intent on cruising the barren shores of Labrador in an old Tancook schooner. They set off without sailorly assistance: no timepiece, poor charts, no Light List, and little previous experience. And then they sold their engine to buy food.
Despite their ill preparedness the men pressed north in their 30-foot wooden schooner Dolphin. What followed was an often comic tangle of experiences in which they lost anchors, blew out sails, and got lost in blinding snow squalls. They eventually abandoned ship after being rolled in a gale off Newfoundland.
Northern Lights is a wild ride, and every wayward sailor will recognize a bit of himself in the reckless spirits of these men. The true account, which took place in 1929, is illustrated by bold black and white engravings that complement the story’s ominous tone. It was written by the skipper 10 years after the trio returned to land and resumed normal lives. The story consequently went out of print.
Capstan Press, a small Connecticut publishing company, has revived a collection of forgotten sea stories and arranged a varied catalogue.
Capstan Press, Old Saybrook, Conn.; 860-395-0528; 240 pages; $15.95.