All those seriously dreaming of setting off to sea should read Blown Away to share the lessons Herb and his brood of teenage children learned along the way, to savor with him the delights of Tahiti, Fiji, New Zealand and dozens of other South Pacific islands.
New 35th anniversary editions
“The older I get, the more things there are that tend to make me nervous. I don’t see myself as full of cowardice, but as lacking in courage. Given death on one hand and destruction on the other, I have occasionally behaved in manly fashion, but show me an easy way out and I take it.”
Thus the Payson credo.
And thus, behind the self-effacement, a sensible attitude for anyone tackling the formidable challenges and risk of sailboat cruising.
The bare outline of Payson’s story is a familiar one but with a unique twist: at middle age, a couple decides to take four of their six children on a 38 foot boat, depart work ashore (in the Paysons’ case, the smoky nightclubs of L.A.) and take up the cruising life. But the fleshing out of the story – a blend of uproarious mishaps and white-knuckled action – is pure Payson with his style that gained him loyal followers in Sail magazine and others around the world.
In nearly seven years of South Pacific island-hopping, the author not only has refined diverse boat-handling and boat-living skills, but has learned that adversity can be funny (to readers, anyway). He applies this outlook to such universal problems as broken-down heads, dilatory customs officials, dubious navigational fixes and coping with gale-fore headwinds when a boat (his own beloved Sea Foam) is shaped more like a bowling ball than a 12-meter.
His shaky self-esteem notwithstanding, Herb Payson is a sailor with the kind of hard-earned wisdom that only thousands of tough miles can confer, and his sage advice on the hows and how-nots of cruising is well worth heeding. His story, told with eloquence and humor, will surely rank as a classic of nautical literature.
This special 35th anniversary edition is enhanced with a foreword by Lin Pardey plus Herb’s reflections on how cruising affected his children and his relationship with his determined, lifelong partner/wife Nancy.
About the Author
Herb Payson, a professional jazz musician, ran away to sea with his wife Nancy, a cocktail waitress plus four of the six children from their combined families. Over the next two decades, they sailed on three different boats to more than 26 countries, the whole family working along the way to keep their adventures afloat. Herb soon found his voice as a sailing writer and his work appeared regularly in Sail Magazine. His three books, filled with both humor and serious seamanship advice have become classics. When age made sailing less fulfilling, he and Nancy settled in Port Townsend Washington where Herb returned to his musical roots, playing jazz piano.