If you need a conversation starter aboard your boat or perhaps a thoughtful tidbit to share in the cockpit while waiting for the green flash, Stephen Brennan has put together a little book of sailing quotations by the likes of William Shakespeare, Beowulf, Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, Jack London, Nathanael Herreshoff, Homer (in the Odyssey) and many more. He intersperses these with good sailing photos and organizes the content into vague categories such as Ship, Storm and Calm, the Philosophic Sailor, and so forth.
It’s not really possible to review a collection of quotations. Some are melancholy. Some are frightening. Some you’ve heard before. Many are enlightening. Many will touch you. I offer a few that touched me.
A small sailing craft is not only beautiful, it is seductive and full of strange promise and the hint of trouble.
Land was created to provide a place for boats to visit.
Ships are the nearest things to dreams that hands have ever made.
Robert N. Rose
Waves are not measured in feet or inches, they are measured in increments of fear.
At sea, I learned how little a person needs — not how much.
Robin Lee Graham
Sailors, with their built-in sense of order, service, and discipline, should really be running the world.
The Little Book of Sailing Wisdom edited by Stephen Brennan (Skyhorse Publishing, 2014, 214 pages)