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New American Sailing Book with Irish Input Gives a Fresh Angle on our Scene Afloat

18th March 2019
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An eye-catching book cover…….having Winslow Homer’s famous 1899 painting “The Gulf Stream” - with its graphic suggestions of inevitable tragedy - superimposed by the chirpy title “Fun with Sailboats” may not be to everyone’s taste. But it certainly captures attention for American Pete Brennan’s book on his sometimes quirky sailing experiences on both sides of the Atlantic An eye-catching book cover…….having Winslow Homer’s famous 1899 painting “The Gulf Stream” - with its graphic suggestions of inevitable tragedy - superimposed by the chirpy title “Fun with Sailboats” may not be to everyone’s taste. But it certainly captures attention for American Pete Brennan’s book on his sometimes quirky sailing experiences on both sides of the Atlantic

Pete Brennan is an American of partially Irish ancestry who came originally from New Jersey, and now lives in Florida writes W M Nixon. For most of his life he has had steady jobs which had nothing whatever to do with recreational boating. So when he discovered a latent and growing interest in boats and sailing, he began to use at least some of his regular vacations from the day job to go sailing and enjoy a complete break.

He has been having fun with holiday time on sailboats for more than thirty years now - so much so that he felt inclined to make a book out of it. The result is this picaresque collection of engaging seafaring tales in which the boat sizes range from dinghies to the Dutch Tall ship Thalassa.

Irish interest will be especially sparked by his experiences on our late and much-lamented Sail Training Brigantine Asgard II, on which he did so well - despite being one of their most mature trainees - that he was appointed a Watch Leader.

He also became linked in with Darryl Hughes and the merry men and women on the vintage ketch Maybird, and while he endured the frustrations of Maybird being a non-finisher in both the Round Ireland Race of 2016 and the Dun Laoghaire-Dingle Race of 2017, he has been able to add what is in effect a post-script of his involvement in the classic old gaff ketch finishing - to much acclaim - in the Round Ireland Race of 2018.

The book is well-peppered with other varied sea experiences and port delights on many coastlines with a wide selection of boats, some of which he owned himself. And Pete Brennan is clearly a congenial and supportive shipmate – he’s the sort of guy who would be right there to help nervous beginners going aloft for the first time on a Tall Ship, and when the going was rough, he’d be the seasick-immune helper to the cook in the galley when all the rest of the crew were feeling queasy.

It’s all published at his own expense, and thus you shouldn’t expect too much of a smoothly-edited production in which the narrative flows easily through elegantly-matched photos. But it has the ring of truth, and is never truer than when Peter dedicates it to his long-suffering wife Susan, who has become accustomed to her spouse suddenly discovering that he is still owed some days off in the current working year, and almost immediately taking off like a rocket to put in a bit of sea time while he still can.

Peter Brennan’s multi-faceted sailing and his responses to it have resulted in a paperback book of 150 pages, and the publisher is listed as Page Publishing Inc of New York, priced at 19.95 US dollars with distribution through Amazon.

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WM Nixon

About The Author

WM Nixon

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago

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