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August 19, 2011

BOOK REVIEW:
Voyaging to the Mediterranean Under Power by Mary Umstot

By Jeff Merrill

If you are like me and can’t get enough of the trawler lifestyle then I have a great book for you to add to your library. Denis and Mary Umstot have had some very impressive adventures on their custom Knight and Carver 52 footer, TEKA III. I can hear you wondering aloud now, “Hey, wait a minute, she’s not a Nordhavn. What are you doing writing about another boat on this website?”

I’ve spent time with Denis and Mary, sat in on their sessions at various TrawlerFests and find them extremely interesting people. The fact that TEKA III is a Robert Beebe design is very intriguing and the fact that Denis has been asked to edit a revision of the Beebe classic Voyaging Under Power gives them serious cruising credentials in my book – plus the fact that they have travelled over 50,000 miles aboard at sea. Heck, this is a great resource for any passagemaker to delve into.

Though my preference is to read and review stories written by Nordhavn owners (he says, only half-joking!), there are a lot of capable trawlers out there and the reality is all of the long rangers usually end up in the same places. (It was interesting to learn that they first started shopping for a Nordhavn 46, but could not find one to match their budget. But buying TEKA III, an original Beebe design with paravanes and other key long range qualities, points to the fact that there are many viable alternatives.) It doesn’t matter what brand you spend the night in, being there and living the dream creates a fused community in every anchorage. And thus, their book Voyaging to the Mediterranean Under Power is a great resource for anyone on any type of power passagemaker to delve into.

Voyaging to is a travel adventure that takes place over their 11 years of sea time –and covers their time from taking ownership of TEKA III and getting to know her capabilities through long passages and exotic ports of call filled with their real life experience. I love the book’s subtitle too, “Imprints of Ports, People, Sunsets, and Storms”.

This is a soft cover book about 235 pages long that is a great armchair read and puts you into the pilothouse, galley and engine room as the Umstots go out to see the world. This book, like Christi Grab’s The Unexpected Circumnavigation (about a Nordhavn 43), is written from the woman’s perspective and I think offers great insights into what it is like to cruise on an ocean crossing power boat as a couple.

Things happen on a boat and Mary writes about them. Denis has a couple of mishaps that end up with some hospital time…it’s informative to see how they handle these types of situations in faraway places. Mary also has time to reflect upon her time aboard and one of my favorite paragraphs from the book comes near the end:

“Out on the sea, one experiences magnificent sunrises, fantastic sunsets, elusive green flashes, and the moon plus stars to light the way at night.”

That, in summary, is what Mary and Denis discover during their time on the water.

There are familiar names from the cruising community that pop up and rendezvous with boats I know (like the Nordhavn 46 Suprr) who Denis and Mary cross wakes with. In fact, reading along reminds me of my many times at sea and inspires me to get ready for my next trip.

During their travels Mary wrote a good number of articles for PassageMaker magazine which are referenced throughout the book.

Mary also shares her thoughts on cruising and the companionship and camaraderie of fellow cruisers:

“Cruisers are a special group of people. They choose a mobile lifestyle that does not stop when land ends. They accepted challenges and easily shared ideas regarding where to go and where not to go to make a gypsy life fun. There’s work involved too. Cruisers have to be self sufficient problem solvers, able to care for a range of things that can go wrong, from plumbing to fixing hydraulic leaks to changing engine filters at sea. Leaving land meant no AAA roadside service. A non functioning toilet on land is one thing; a marine one, another. Anticipating parts needed for jobs yet-to-be determined required some real forethought. Social events cement relationships formed among cruisers.”

One particularly helpful realization is Mary’s philosophy of “Go, stay or deal with it.” Very apt advice.

After over 45,000 miles aboard there have been many lessons learned. Some books of this type go into too much detail; this publication provides a great deal of insight that will help prepare you for your adventures.

For more details you can go to the Umstot’s website, www.Teka3.com and keep your eyes open for the newly revised Voyaging Under Power to be released. You can order Voyaging to the Mediterranean Under Power from www.amazon.com and it is published by BookLocker.com.

 


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