Anthony Dalton’s book on the mysterious Tristan Jones reads, more times than not, like a detective novel – one in which the author is clearly and logically explaining that Tristan Jones’ claimed great feats as a sailor could not be entirely true. From the start, the author establishes a style of dryness and wit.

Ultimately, however, he provides his readers with a well-written, well thought-out, and very entertaining book.

This book uncovers the true sail courses Tristan followed. Anthony writes in a logical formula that works. First he mentions the facts and accomplishments that Tristan claimed, from his date of birth to total sailing miles recorded. Then he discusses how these claims are not possible and provides good, effective evidence. He often reveals this through the quotes of other sailors and authors. The book’s strength is that it clears the murky waters that surround our sail hero Tristan Jones, a tough task given that so many questions surround Tristan Jones, the sailor and person.

While he reveals, however, that all that Tristan claimed was not true, Anthony Dalton is not out to play policeman against Tristan Jones. He praises Tristan for being an accomplished sailor.

This book is worth a place in your sailing library if you want logical evidence about how and why a great author and accomplished sailor created some adventure tales and claimed amazing accomplishments under sail. As you read it, you will be treated to Anthony Dalton’s subtle, effective wit, a style that will keep you reading and tickle your intellect.

Wayward Sailor: In Search of the Real Tristan Jones by Anthony Dalton (Mcgraw-Hill/International Marine, 2003; 336 pages)