Blown Away

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2014 • all rights reserved

Out of print for years, Herb Payson's book is one that captured my imagination and got me thinking about cruising. Now it's back in print!

Years ago, Dave and I spent the night before our first charter at our friend Jan’s house as she lived 50 miles closer to the airport. Now, Jan had this long-term plan to go cruising . . . and we were just starting to think about it.

All around her house, Jan had books and magazines relating to cruising: the Power Squadron navigation course, Cruising World, several of Lin Pardey’s books . . . and a copy of Blown Away by Herb Payson.

Somehow, Blown Away called to me, and I found myself reading into the wee hours of the morning about this family that took off across the Pacific back in the early 1970’s. Sure, they had problems along the way. But they figured out solutions. And they went places, saw things and had experiences that most of us never do.

I’m sort of the adventurous type, and that book got me to thinking that maybe this would be a lifestyle that Dave and I would like. The following week, on our BVI charter, made me think even more seriously about it.

It took Dave and I five more years to actually buy our first cruising boat, Que Tal, and begin cruising full time. The rest is history.

A while back, Lin Pardey wrote me and said that in her new career as a book publisher she was re-releasing a 35th Anniversary edition of Blown Away. Would I like an advance review copy? Of course!

I was curious: after all these years, and cruising myself, would I still find Herb’s story as good a read? Absolutely!

We may have GPS now, there may be more cruisers in remote locations, but the sense of wonder and getting away from the “normal” life is still there. Families are still families, and cruisers still have to come up with creative solutions to mechanical problems and petty bureaucrats . . . I won’t spoil the book by giving away Herb’s techniques, but they still work!

Blown Away went out of print a number of years ago, and is now back in print with the 35th Anniversary edition. It has a forward by Lin Pardey and a follow-up by Herb Payson discussing how cruising changed his family.

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  1. Amazon says it is the revised edition on their website.

  2. Carolyn, FYI. On Amazon site, way, way down under the description, Product Description:
    “New 35th anniversary edition”. Thx for the post. I put it into my shopping cart!!

  3. Ooops. Sorry, I didn’t see Pamela’s post!!

  4. I still have that original copy and I still re-read it periodically. Herb makes me laugh every time.

  5. I loved that story!

  6. How did you know that you had enough money locked away to live off of while cruising? Did either of you have a profession that allowed you to work from anywhere?

  7. That’s the book that turned us onto cruising too! I read it while deployed with the US Army to Iraq in 2005. I loved it so much I sent it to my husband on another base. 11 years (8 of them living aboard full time) later, we are ready to set off in 15 months! I have to read this again. Thanks, Carolyn!

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