01 Jan “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.