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Summer Reading

Some Downeast Nautical inspiration for your 2022 summer reading list.

What is summer for if not to finally take some “me time” and sit back and relax with a good book? Whether you’re reading from a cozy spot on the deck of a Maine Windjammer, or reading on your own back deck, you’ll enjoy these nautically inspired books, picked by our captains.

Bridget Besaw Gorman

Captain Sean and Captain Ben (Schooner Heritage): John Pollack’s Cork Boat.
Did you catch the story back in 2002 of the real-life cork boat? Joshua Pollack built his boat out of 165,000 wine-bottle corks (and tons of rubber bands) and sailed it on the Douro River in Portugal. He writes all about this unlikely and successful undertaking in this charming and uplifting book.

Captain Noah (Schooner Stephen Taber): The Secret Sharer, by Joseph Conrad
This is one of Conrad’s more widely read sea stories – a psychological tale narrated by a young ship captain who finds himself harboring a fugitive from another ship. The story was written in 1909 and first published in two parts in the August and September 1910 editions of Harper’s Magazine.

Captain Justin (Schooner J. & E. Riggin): Youth by Joseph Conrad
No list of nautical fiction is complete without the stories of Joseph Conrad. You may have read some of his nautical short stories years ago but they are definitely worth a re-read. The simple plots but intense suspense will keep you turning the pages.

Captain Dennis (Windjammer Angelique): Sailing in a Spoonful of Water: A Man, a Family, and a Vintage Wooden Boat by Joe Coomer
Coomer writes about his years aboard his vintage motor sailor, Yonder, off the coast of Maine. From the publisher, “This is a book that will entrance lovers of the sea…” and we agree.

Captain Jen (Schooner Mary Day): Spoonhandle, by Ruth Moore
Ruth Moore was born and raised on Great Gott Island–an island off of Mt. Desert Island that you might visit on a windjammer cruise. She writes about a fictional fishing village on Spoon island, though her characters and settings are vividly real. You can’t help but be invested in the characters as they struggle (at times) with life on a small Maine island and deal with the relationships between those “from away” and those who are native islanders.

Sean & Tracy Sheppard

And for our nautical history buffs:

Captain Tyler (Schooner American Eagle): Down to the Sea by Joseph Garland.
This is a beautifully written and informative book about the Gloucester fishing schooners (with lots of great sea tales, and pictures, too!)

Captain Becky (Schooner Lewis R. French): Wake of the Coasters, by John F. Leavitt
The author spent his early years sailing on New England coasting schooners and shares his passion for the schooners, and the people who worked them, with readers in this definitive work on New England’s old working schooners.

What are your favorite nautical books? Let us know so we can add them to our ship’s libraries!


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