Book of the Week: 'Just Sea and Sky' by Ben Pester

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Today setting out to sail to the other side of the world without GPS, electronics, radio or an EPIRB would be considered downright irresponsible. This charming account of the voyage of two men in a small boat half way round the world from Plymouth to New Zealand in 1955 is a rare insight into a time, not long ago, when sailors had none of the mod cons that we take for granted today.

Without lifejacket or a liferaft, they 'just took what came along', hand steering all the way, navigating by sextant, hand-cranking their engine and using oil lamps for light at night and for navigation.

Sailors will be staggered how primitive conditions were only a few decades ago, even though it was the norm at the time. Part travelogue and part adventure story, the two friend’s encountered drunken harbourmasters, the mafia, the legacy of slavery and lost civilisations in the Pacific.

Just Sea & Sky shows it how it was, and still is, possible to enjoy the simple pleasures of traditional sailing without the complications of modern day equipment.

Beautifully written, vivid in its descriptions of the two men's exploits ashore and on board, this quirky and entertaining book will be a fascinating read for sailors and non-sailors alike.

Ben Pester was born in New Zealand and came to the UK in 1943, aged 18, to serve in the Royal Navy. After leaving the service he joined the aluminium industry, rising to the position of an international chief executive.

After retiring in 1990 he became a sailing instructor, and undertook several long distance cruises, including rounding Cape Horn.

Until his sudden death in May 2010, at the age of 85, Ben continued to sail the coastal waters of Cornwall all year round in his beloved Marelle.

The book is available for just under $30 at any of the Boat Books stores in Australia shown below, or you can buy it online by http://www.boatbooks-aust.com.au!clicking_here.

Boat Books Sydney
31 Albany Street
Crows Nest NSW 2065
Phone: (02) 9439 1133

Store Hours: Monday to Friday: 9.00am - 5:30pm
Saturday: 9.00am - 4:00pm

Boat Books Brisbane
109 Albert Street
Brisbane QLD 4000
Phone: (07) 3229 6427

Store Hours: Monday to Friday: 9.00am - 5:00pm
Saturday: 10.00am - 2:00pm

Boat Books Melbourne
214 St Kilda Road
St Kilda VIC 3182
Phone: (03) 9525 3444

Store Hours: Monday to Friday: 9.00am - 5:30pm
Saturday: 9.00am - 1:00pm