We all know of Lin and Larry Pardey. Or at least we know the broad outlines of their story. Herb McCormick's book will give you a far greater appreciation of this amazing couple.

“As Long As It’s Fun”

The sub-title of this great book says it all:  “The Epic Voyages and Extraordinary Times of Lin and Larry Pardey.”  It’s written by Herb McCormick, the former editor-in-chief of Cruising World and a long distance cruiser himself.

I feel sort of connected both to the Pardeys — Lin and I have gotten to know each other over the last few years and she even provided a “cover quote” for The Boat Galley Cookbook — and to Herb McCormick who published the first article I wrote for a major cruising magazine.  And I was given a review copy.  Free.  So there, you’ve been warned:  I’m probably a little biased.

Simply put, I loved this book and read it almost straight through.  Having read several of Lin’s books recounting their voyages as well as Bull Canyon, which tells of their time building their second boat (see my review), I already knew the broad outlines of their story.  Lots of people do, I’m sure.

But what As Long As It’s Fun does so well is to bring the whole story together and show how all the pieces fit together.  How one decision or one experience led to the next.  And that is where having Herb McCormick write their biography is genius.  He is so connected into the cruising world (pun intended) to realize the fantastic times they lived through — from the early days of “everyday people” crossing oceans to the present day — and the influential people they crossed paths with.  Tristan Jones, Bernard Moitessier, the Hiscocks and on to Beth Leonard and Evans Starzinger.

He realizes how the Pardeys are different from most cruisers, and just how it was that they influenced so many.  And at the same time, he brings out how we’re all similar . . . money worries, times when the boat just isn’t big enough for two.

Lin described it to me as a “warts and all” book, but I’d say it just the story of real people with real lives.  And some of what she calls “warts” are exactly those traits that enabled them to build two boats and take each one on an arduous circumnavigation not just without an engine but without most of things considered necessary by others:  no electricity, no electronics, no GPS, no life raft, no refrigeration, no watermaker, not even a toilet.

McCormick is a good writer, telling a great story.  He’s able to weave together the story of their childhoods, the people who influenced them, those they’ve influenced and see the consistent themes that have run through their lives.  He offers us a glimpse of Lin and Larry that few have seen before.

Highly recommended!

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  • Barbara Gray
    Posted at 01 January 2014 Reply

    Looks like a great book. We only use kindle so please remind us when it is available. I love my Boat Galley book and all of your helpful posts. Thank you and Happy New Year.

  • Rosalind Franks
    Posted at 22 July 2016 Reply

    I loved this book, you are right it is a fascinating read!

  • Florian
    Posted at 27 September 2017 Reply

    “Warts and all” is a lovely phrase for all the bumps & hick-ups in a sailor’s life, esp. if as a couple you’re living and long-distance cruising on your (always too small) ship. We haven’t embarked on THAT journey so far, but encountered a few warts already – differences in opinion how to fit out; kerosene / LPG / wooden stove, where the dogs should sleep on our boat (I am adamant this time NOT in the bed, as our two biggest brutes are 50 kilos each :-), separate genny or not, should the dinghy be rowed or motored, or both, and if so with the Seagull (me) or the Yamaha (sweetie), etc etc. Warts and all probably will continue as long as we are the custodians of our 1923 ship, but I am certain every sailing couples goes through more or less the same motions – sometimes, more, sometimes less amicably (the 1924 pump toilet was threatened by making it overboard & disappearing into the big blue, so I kept it in the shed – despite being an absolute museum throne, and fully functional).

  • cyndy
    Posted at 01 October 2017 Reply

    HI, BFG!
    Funny that you should repost this now. I just finished reading it. It is a surprising story. It also made me rethink some of the things that I had taken as “gospel”. Such as – what they did is not for everyone, Some of their decisions were based on the era they lived in and *maybe* not so applicable to the here and now or the types of boats that most people are sailing/cruising now.
    I was a little put off by all the “name dropping”. Yes, we know they are famous and apparently everyone they know is famous, but it really didn’t need to be pointed out at every possible chance to do so.
    We are working through our warts and the book has changed my perspective a lot about what “should or should not” be on the boat. (I’m keeping the EPIRB and the heads).
    Still, it’s on Kindle and it was entertaining. Sorry if I have offended anyone with my comments

  • Geoff McClure
    Posted at 05 November 2017 Reply

    Great read!

  • Rosalind Franks
    Posted at 05 November 2017 Reply

    I enjoyed reading this book!

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