The story of a young couple who, without any prior sailing experience, decide one night over too many drinks that they are going to sail around the world. One year later they are bobbing around in the Bahamas on a 35 foot catamaran teaching themselves how to cross oceans in a small boat.
Along their way they meet amazing people, visit locations only accessible by those on their own yachts, become television actors in Australia, minor celebrities in Puerto Rico, and generally have a great time of it all.
They aren't your average cruisers by any stretch of the imagination, and run afoul of what most cruisers perceive to be "real" cruisers. But for four years they sailed around the world on their own terms.
This is their story, and is essential reading for anybody who has ever had the dream to sail around the world. This book just might push you over the edge, and the horizon.
©2008 Patrick Schulte (P)2013 David N. Olberding
I enjoyed it but at times this felt like an endurance race rather than a nicely put together story. Often reads like extracts from the ships log, rather than a book.
Although I am not a sailor myself, I am fascinated by travel books and do enjoy listening to 'escapism' of these travelogue journals. I was a bit disappointed with this one however.
I found the author quite a frustrating character. His sheer arrogance and condescending nature to anybody and anything was annoying and wore a little the quite early on in the book.
In terms of the story itself - I really wanted to hear more stories about some of the fabulous places they visited, but instead we seemed to rush from place to place and heard more about their boredom and contempt for other sailors, again and again.
If you are looking for a sailing travelogue about circumnavigation I would recommend Islands, Oceans, and Dreams: The True Story of a Sailor's Seven Year Solo Voyage Around the World by Michael Salvaneschi, not this one.
Probably not personally as I am no fan of the his accent but it may help to realise the story to most listeners as I suppose the author sounds very similar.
Initially I found the authors total lack of preparation for a round the world voyage irritating but by book 2 I began to like their can-do attitude, their distain for the other 'cruisers' and the way that they tried to allow themselves to trust people they met.
The narrator possibly makes the story more personable as I suspect that he narrates as the author speaks.
'Bumfuzzle' - obviously.
A good listen that I stuck with after initially dismissing the author as an annoying, naive, typically ignorant American. I grew to like him and his attitude to life and challenges. The website that the couple set up to show people their journey is a great reference for phptos and videos too.
Unlike most books in this genre, which appear to be written by either the very young, solo sailors (Jessica Watts, Jesse Martin, Robin L. Graham and) or the older cicumnavigator, this book is written by a young couple. It hence offers a slightly different perspective. And at first I thought this might be a fairly refreshing and entertaining book.
Unfortunately, this young couple uses the book to pour scorn on the cruising fraternity as a whole and gloat how great they area and how easy it all comes to them. I guess it takes a bit of wisdom, which is generally gained with age, to appreciate to the real skill is to find commonalities rather then pick differences.
Listening to the book, I couldn't help thinking that these guys are a couple of conceited idiots whom, should I ever have have the misfortune to meet them on the ocean, I would steer well clear off.
Other than that, this is a fairly standard "milk run" cruising story. Neither particularly exciting nor particularly well told.
As such, there are better stories, including "Islands, Oceans, and Dreams: The True Story of a Sailor's Seven Year Solo Voyage Around the World" which is also available on Audible.
"The author hates me, and probably you too"
This was an interesting story, and I really wanted to like it and the author. Unfortunately the author is really negative (or maybe it's just the narrator's tone), and he expresses his dislike for his target audience (sailors) over and over and over again which gets really annoying.
My wife and I are younger than the author and his wife, we have also crossed oceans and taken multi-year cruises. We can relate to their mindset and frustrations with the cruising community... but seriously, stop complaining!
The author is also kind of oblivious to his own hypocrisy. Each chapter roughly follows the same basic structure: The author mocks other cruisers, leaves on passage, eats his own words, fails to realize it, repeat.
The following three scenarios happen so often that I have them memorized:
1. The author mocks other cruisers for their careful consideration of the weather, always followed by the author complaining about the crappy weather he is experiencing.
2. The author mocks other cruisers for provisioning their boats with food, he brags about leaving port with out supplies, and then complains about having no food to eat, or having nothing but canned meatballs every day, or canned hot dogs every day.
3. The author mocks other cruisers for being cautious, followed by the author taking stupid risks that he admits would have resulted in the loss of the boat but luckily "such and such" happens.
The three examples above are on constant repeat, and I think the book would have been SO MUCH more enjoyable had these common themes been consolidated when converting the blog into a book. But then again, if you take these parts out there probably wouldn't have been much "book" left.
The tag line of the book "just looking out for pirates" is another example of the author's hypocrisy. There are multiple points in the book in which the author rants about how pirates are nothing to worry about, and how other cruising are dumb if they worry about pirates. The author even enters a random Columbian port where their boat is boarded in the middle of the night. Later on they find out that the cruising guide says the port they went to is dangerous and should not be visited. They just laugh it off and continue to mock others who have mild concerns about safety.
Overall, it was a good, interesting story.
"Yo ho, ho hum!"
If you feel a strong interest in or affection for the sea and sailing, If you’re curious about exotic ports and unfamiliar cultures and would like to learn more about them. Or, if you simply admire stylish and evocative writing, then this book is not for you, because it lacks all of these virtues.
Patrick Schulte and Ali were a young married couple, who tired of their conventional urban existence, bought a sailboat, and set off in it to circumnavigate the globe. At this point the book resembles any number of stories about the sea and like them could have proceeded in several interesting directions – but it doesn’t.
The couple’s sole introduction to sailing, we learn, consisted of eight hours of instruction on Lake Michigan. Really? What kind of boats were used? What maneuvers did the students practice? Why was there so little training, and was it enough? Patrick doesn't say. Whatever the consequence of their minimal tutelage, he and Ali set out from Florida in a thirty-five foot catamaran, to which they gave the unromantic name Bumfuzzle, and spent several months island hopping in the Bahamas before setting out to circle the globe. Whenever possible, they apparently preferred to “motor sail” using their boat’s twin diesel engines. Patrick doesn’t provide much information about the engines, or indeed about any of the boat's characteristics other than to reveal that its sail inventory included something called a “Screecher”, perhaps a kind of jib sail, that worked well in light winds. That’s all.
As far as I could tell from Patrick's narrative, he and his wife remained relatively untouched by the romance and grandeur of the sea or by the adventure of crossing the world’s oceans and encountering new people, places, and cultures. They seemed actually to dislike most of the people they met, whether these were inhabitants of the places they visited or fellow cruisers. As a result the book has a distinctly drab feeling, although some of this may be due to Patrick’s pedestrian writing style. His grammar is careless, his descriptions are colorless, and his storytelling is relentlessly unexciting. Lacking genuine sparkle and panache, it’s just not fun to read.
An enduring question about Bumfuzzle, that may have kept me coming back to the book for as long as I did, was: how did these novice voyagers, so uninformed and unprepared, when they began, survive long enough to become competent sailors? Their learning experiences might have made for interesting reading, but there’s little of this in the book either. At one point Patrick’s ignorance of proper lighting for night running and correct Rules of the Road nearly resulted in their ramming another sailboat lying at anchor, but he describes the event with his usual insouciance and moves on, robbing it of any dramatic or instructive value.
Bottom line: the Schultes seemed to find so little joy in anything that they saw or did in their voyaging, that I began to wonder why they kept going. While not notably bad, Nick O’Kelly’s performance of the text wasn’t especially good either, certainly not lively enough to offset the book’s lackluster character. Eventually I stopped listening. Just ran out of interest.
I can think of no reason to recommend this book to anyone. If you want to read/ listen to a charming and interesting celebration of the lure of circumnavigation, I suggest you try Islands, Oceans, and Dreams by Michael Salvaneschi, or Sailing Alone Around the World by Joshua Slocum, both of which are available as audio books.
"Great read for the first time adventure enabled!"
Interesting, Inspiring, and educational.
Voice speed. It was read to quick and maybe a tad flippant...but overall I liked it.
Don't listen to the critics, read or listen to this book! If your an average Joe just thinking about breaking free, these folks will inspire you. If your even remotely considering beginning to sail, again well worth the listen. I've read a good deal of criticism of these folks, I really don't understand why...... This couple is quirky and adventurous, all things that make for a great story. Keep in mind the book was a distillation of a massive blog. To be able to condense that volume of material and then actually make it interesting is an impressive feat! I really enjoyed this audio book. These folks talk about being out and living free in one of the few ways left in our society. It also interesting for someone that is a little younger, but still interested in sailing distance. The differences between age groups and mentalities are highlighted in some of the comments you'll read about this audio book. Don't let that stop you from hearing this one, it's totally worth it for the technical and cultural info alone.
"Smug, snide but informative"
I really do not like the reading by Nick Okelley. I find that so much of his reading is monotone and could use some polish. While the story has been lauded by many, I can see how many more lambaste the couples decisions and there opinions. I felt that the author was smug, arrogant, snide and obviously not a very sociable person. He would make quick judgments about people and when others didn't share his Opinion or desire to rebel against everything that exists, he would smugly attack the entire cruising population.
If you are looking for a book that is romantic and full of good-natured stories of the camaraderie and fellowship of cruising, this is not your book. If you want to know what the author's opinions of what is wrong with the cruising world and every other sailor they met, this is definitely your book. I honestly can't remember anywhere in the book where the author spoke well of any other sailor or cruiser. But, the statement that they did it their way is exactly true. It could be said that they did everything their way and circumnavigated successfully. Or, you could say that they circumnavigated in spite of themselves.
Thankfully, they had it two engines and a lot of diesel fuel. Otherwise, I don't think that they would have made it to Panama.
If you choose to read or listen to this book, please bear in mind that the people who chose to do this started with a very large amount of money and motored everywhere they went. True, they used some sail, but they motored more than most would.
"A Must-Read for Would-be Cruisers"
I really, really enjoyed this book. I took it all with a grain of salt, but I thought it was a great alternate narrative to the average cruising book. I appreciated the author's complete lack of experience and his irreverence towards so many nautical traditions and the cruising lifestyle. If you've read Seraffyn, Cruiser's Handbook and Slokum, enjoy this book's cold splash in the face to much of what read previously.
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