"In all, beautifully written and wonderfully inspiring."--The Wall Street Journal
"Crossing the Atlantic under sail, alone, is a nexus of sorts for all sailors, a dream and an adventure that seems obtainable within the framework of life and work, and it's in this context that Sea Trials provides inspiration to all of us. Bourke's route across the ocean, as a participant in the 2009 OSTAR, is circuitous at best as he battles headwinds and mechanical snafus, but he keeps it in perspective and never loses his sense of humor and awe. Sure he wants to do well in the race, but getting to the starting line is already a victory, and finishing, when others would have retired, seems in character. Bourke deftly weaves his life story into the narrative, from the tragic death of his wife that leaves him an angry single parent, to postponing his dreams until his kids are settled, to his rather bumbling attempts to become a sailor. It takes a good writer to make this work within the framework of a voyage, and Bourke is a very good writer. . . . I was in the cockpit with him as he spent long hours at the helm, attuned to the sea and alone with his thoughts. He doesn't whine but he's not a hero either, just a sailor dealing with his boat, the Atlantic, and life, and he relishes it all. This is a brilliant book." -- John Kretschmer, author, Sailing a Serious Ocean and At the Mercy of the Sea
Peter Bourke first heard the siren call of the sea as a young boy when he crossed the Atlantic from England with his family. Decades later, three years after his wife's sudden death, he bought a boat--even though he did not yet know how to sail. His friends thought he was crazy; but for Bourke, buying his fi rst sailboat was a lifeline, a glimmer of hope in a world turned upside down. Learning to juggle single parenting, a career in finance, and a growing urge to set sail was akin to walking a tightrope of sanity. Small voyage by small voyage he gained his sea legs, balancing the risks of singlehanding while raising children, holding his sailing dream lightly until his children had safely transited out of high school.
Bourke entered the Oldest Singlehanded Trans-Atlantic Race (OSTAR) at age 57. Sea Trials is the humble account of those 40 days of racing on his 44-foot sailboat Rubicon. As he shares his highs and lows at sea, he also weaves his intimate story of grief and rediscovery into the narrative: pain and joy, seasickness, fear, and his boundless gratitude. You are along for Bourke’s racing adventure--the good, the bad, and the very unpredictable. Gear failure and reefi ng sails on a pitching deck in the double dark of the mid-Atlantic night intermix with wet twilights of Da Nang, Vietnam, where artillery shells pierce the sky; we also travel with Bourke down the pastoral streets of his suburban hometown toward a neighbor's house, wondering how he will find the words and courage to tell his daughter and son they have lost their mother. Bourke's offshore passage is a passage home, to the core of his humanity and humility--and as Bourke and Rubicon cross the fi nish line in Newport, Rhode Island, the world had been simultaneously opened wide and brought closer. To dream and to sail the dream is to journey off and come home again, changed.
And undoubtedly you will be inspired to take a big--but satisfying--risk of your own to fulfill your lifelong dream, whether it's on the big blue or dry land.
"Life and circumstance had left me working flat out trying to maintain my professional position, be a good father, and keep everything together. At the late-night end of many days, I found myself mumbling: 'I can't keep doing this, this is killing me, I'm dying.' It wasn't a question of wanting out of the parenting role, or the business role, but I needed a third ball for balance . . ." "To be at sea is to be in a different world, and to live alone for a time in this alien place can yield a spiritual calm. . . . In such a calm, order and perspective can enter your thoughts. Life can be harsh at sea, but it is never sordid. The simple necessities of food, drink, and sleep are received with gratitude, and always there is the sea's reminder that you are a speck of dust in the cosmos. The rush of thoughts slows, and order replaces the chaos as you consider your journey." -- From the book
SEA TRIALS is a poignant account of one man's pursuit of a dream that will inspire you to tackle challenging endeavors as well as squarely face life's emotional challenges, fi nding the courage to live a fully engaged, authentic life.