A Tale of Two Yachts is a fascinating account of two voyages, over 85 years apart, to New Zealand, says Julia Jones
A Tale of Two Yachts
Self-Publishing House, £12.99
There’s an interesting concept behind this volume. Barbara White and her husband Rob completed a six-year circumnavigation on their Oyster 406 yacht Zoonie between 2015-2021 and recorded it on Barbara’s blog.
Erling Tambs and his wife Julie left Norway in 1928 on the Colin Archer-designed former pilot cutter Teddy but lost her off New Zealand in 1932.
They, their two children and their dog were lucky to survive.
Locked down in Australia during 2020 Barbara retyped Tambs’s Cruise of the Teddy as a basis for the new edition published by Lodestar Books.
Here she interweaves events from Teddy’s voyage, with Zoonie’s progress as far as New Zealand.
Her subtitle describes the sailing couple’s voyages as ‘remarkably similar’ yet, perhaps inevitably, it is the differences that are most obvious: Teddy’s lack of an engine, lack of navigational or communication equipment, her wooden construction, the gender of the skipper, the comparative ages, motivations and financial resources of each couple, the degree of hardship experienced.
The tracks they follow are similar but not the same.
Barbara and Rob leave Plymouth peacefully for A Coruna, enjoying fond memories of the Tall Ship Stavros S Niarchos where they had met: Erling and Julie were defying the Norwegian authorities when they set out from Ulvoysund.
They endured a rough North Sea passage before putting into Le Havre, then were forced into Cedeira by a further storm.
Books for sailors: our pick of the best new releases
Yachting Monthly literary contributor Julia Jones reviews all the latest new releases to pick the best books for sailors this…
Best children’s books for youngsters who sail
Struggling to find the perfect gift for your sailing mad youngster? Yachting Monthly literary reviewer Julia Jones picks the best…
Best Christmas gifts for sailors: our picks for 2022
Stuck for a Christmas gift idea for the sailor in your life? We choose the best Christmas gifts for sailors…
The best sailing books & cruising guides of 2021
The best sailing books of 2021? Julia Jones reviews the latest maritime reading
Theirs is always the more dramatic and elemental voyage.
Stylistically The Cruise of the Teddy rarely fails to grip and startle, whereas A Tale of Two Yachts is closer to an agreeable travel journal, recording places visited, impressions gained and meals eaten.
Barbara and Rob took time away from their circumnavigation to travel to Norway and meet Erling Tambs’s grandson (also named Erling) and his aunt, Tui, the baby girl born on the voyage.
They paid tribute to the extraordinary spirit of Tui’s mother, Julie.
Despite dissimilarities, Barbara White’s feeling of connection is real and her insights valuable.
Fundamentally both couples are not only seeking adventure and experience together but the elusive quality of happiness.
Buy A Tale of Two Yachts at Amazon (UK)
Buy A Tale of Two Yachts at Amazon (US)
Buy A Tale of Two Yachts at Waterstones (UK)
Buy A Tale of Two Yachts at Foyles (UK)
Buy The Cruise of the Teddy at Waterstones (UK)
Buy The Cruise of the Teddy at Foyles (UK)
Note: We may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site, at no extra cost to you. This doesn’t affect our editorial independence.
Visit the Yachting Monthly Book Club for more of the best sailing books released this year.
Enjoyed reading A Tale of Two Yachts: book review?
A subscription to Yachting Monthly magazine costs around 40% less than the cover price.
Print and digital editions are available through Magazines Direct – where you can also find the latest deals.
YM is packed with information to help you get the most from your time on the water.
- Take your seamanship to the next level with tips, advice and skills from our experts
- Impartial in-depth reviews of the latest yachts and equipment
- Cruising guides to help you reach those dream destinations
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.