A good writer doesn’t tell readers their story, they show readers their story. I know that Randy Baker succeeded on this front because I felt like I was almost aboard with he and his wife, Cheryl, when I read this memoir that covers the 25 years that the couple spent cruising from the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal, and throughout the South Pacific.
The Bakers cut their sailing teeth on an Aquarius 23 swing-keel sloop in Arkansas, before taking a 6-week cruise around the Florida Keys, which whetted their appetite for the cruising lifestyle. They bought an English-made Nicholson 32 and then simply took off for a quarter-century to live the dream (with a few nightmares encountered) and then returned home to share their extraordinary story.
Not only is the story well told, but the book includes a map that allows the reader to trace the author’s travels. There are also several black-and-white photos sprinkled throughout.
Many of us dream of sailing over the horizon, and some of us manage to make it happen to some extent. But for nearly all of us who can’t pull off a voyage this grand, Half Fast is a realistic, first-hand-account opportunity to get as close as possible.
Half Fast: (mis) Adventures in Slowly Sailing Around (on) the World, by Randy Baker (Self Published, 2019; 277 pages)