There’s more to going offshore than buying a boat and outfitting it. It’s also an unbelievably emotional journey. It turns your world inside out. Often, books about going offshore will only broach the nuts and bolts (which are very important). Gina deVere, on the other hand, doesn’t shy away from the human side of the equation.
In Blue Water Women, de Vere shares pragmatic information in bite sizes for aspiring female cruisers. She effectively draws the reader’s attention to important aspects of cruising by touching on a wide range of topics. She offers advice while giving it context through the personal stories of women who have first-hand experience with offshore sailing.
Stories fed my hunger for adventure when I was planning my first offshore voyage. Reading about others’ experiences provided motivation and inspiration. In that sense, the book is successful. Knowing that someone else has experienced a challenge like what she’s facing, and learning how they coped, can be validating to any woman heading out on her own journey. It can also give her tools and perspectives to cope when faced with similar situations.
The book flows well, and there is plenty to hold interest. Though some of the writing didn’t resonate with me. The section that directly addresses the male counterpart of a cruising couple was somewhat problematic. The author primarily addresses women in established relationships, yet out of the blue, she directly lectures men on how to behave and support their partner. While well-intentioned, this appears out of place. It would have been more effective had she tackled this topic by showing helpful ways for a woman to ask her partner for what she needs.
Because if there was one recurring theme in the book—which I wholeheartedly support—it’s that as an offshore sailor, you must take responsibility for your own learning. That’s how you build confidence. Take ownership of your life and you can immerse yourself in a lifestyle that can be at times harsh but also filled with some of the most incredible experiences only this kind of voyaging can offer.
The author’s simple and direct delivery reminds me of conversations I enjoyed over a glass of wine with my female mentors as I prepared to sail offshore. Blue Water Women may not speak to all women, but many will benefit from its nuggets of wisdom.
Kyra Crouzat has lived aboard Nyon, a 60-year-old strip-planked yacht, for over 12 years. She and her husband, Rick, sailed away from Canada in 2011, spending 16 months in Mexico before crossing the Pacific and making landfall in New Zealand. Now based in the Bay of Islands, Kyra manages a Trust that takes young people on voyages aboard a square tops’l schooner.
Blue Water Women, by Gina de Vere (Blue River Press, 2018; 332 pages)