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Deciding that her two-paycheck family needed a change of pace, Hitchcock (Wildflowers on the Windowsill, LJ 3/1/84) took nine months off with husband David, son John (age eight), and daughter Alison (age six) to sail from Florida to the Caribbean on the 34' Hei Tiki, named after the Maori god of fertility. After a year of planning and saving for the trip, they rented out their house in Virginia, arranged for a good friend to take care of their affairs, and sailed Hei Tiki south to the Bahamas. Traveling from Cocoa Beach to the Abacos, Turks & Caicos, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, British Virgin Islands, Martinique, and Grenada, they eventually ended up back up to Florida. During their voyage, they had to adjust to living in a very confined space and, in the process, became a tight-knit family. Home schooling became a major preoccupation, with shore trips providing exciting learning experiences. This is a well-written story that is not overly technical about how a family adjusts to life aboard a small boat. A solid purchase for public libraries with potential voyagers.‘John Kenny, San Francisco, P.L.

"We went sailing because we wanted to recreate our family.... We needed joy, we needed challenge," writes Hitchcock, after noting earlier that "like many American families, we were spinning out centrifugally." With their six- and eight-year-old children, Hitchcock and her husband, David, borrowed Hei Tiki, a 34-foot sailboat, from her father-in-law and sailed 3500 miles around the Caribbean in nine months. Touted as "a woman's version" of My Old Man and the Sea and Maiden Voyage, it is remarkable mostly because after reading Hitchcock's portrayal of just about the most self-indulgent, rude, nasty, totally humorless husband in recent family sagas, one finds it hard to believe that they are still together four years later. One plods through the recording of one hostile collision after another‘many of which Hitchcock rationalizes as perhaps her fault‘because the kids are adorable and because the trip itself is challenging. Hitchcock begins with barely any sailing experience in a boat that seems at times less than seaworthy for this kind of venture‘and with nary a mention of anyone wearing a life preserver or a tethering harness as they plunge through the frequently treacherous seas. Despite one's fervent wish that the author will push her modern-day Captain Bligh overboard, he comes through alive and immediately takes off with his father and son on a six-week island cruise, leaving Hitchcock and her daughter to return home and clean up the mess left by a student renter. Hardly the "wonderful meditation on marriage, family and the beauty of togetherness" promised in the blurb. (May)

...a brutally honest account... gets better with each chapter... * Yachting World *
...delightfully frank, intriguing and, finally, inspiring... * Sailing and Yachting *
witty, intelligent... lays bare the anatomy of marriage and children, and the healing power of life at sea. * Sailing *
A well-written story that is not overly technical about how a family adjusts to life aboard a small boat. * Library Journal *

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