Great book! A fun read for anyone with a love of boats or living and working in a foreign country!

Sailing Down the Mountain

I’ve had such a good time reading this book!

In 1974, a young couple – Ben and Helen Harrison – left San Francisco and headed down to Costa Rica (an adventure in itself!) to build a cruising boat. Just after New Year’s 1977, they launched it, went through the Panama Canal and cruised up to Key West, where they still live.

Anyone who has even contemplated building a boat or who has spent time doing a major project in a country where you don’t really speak the language, knows just how big of an accomplishment this is. Lots of boats are started; few make it to the water.

But this isn’t a dry story of finding boat parts and doing work. No, Ben Harrison has written a humorous tale of a young couple trying to figure out how to make things work in a foreign culture. Yep, it’s their true story.

Working with a fiberglass factory in Costa Rica, they build what becomes the prototype of the Cabo Rico 38. The factory built the bare hull, then they did everything else themselves. From figuring out the layout to creating it, getting teak logs milled into planks and then laminating them into the curves needed on the boat, plumbing and wiring to building a dinghy and stepping the mast.

And they had fun, both with building the boat and just in living. The story of having a pig roast is hilarious as is getting the boat from the highlands where they built it down to the water. And then they began cruising – long before GPS and learning to take sextant sightings as they went.

Great book, highly recommended! If you have a Kindle or the Kindle app on your tablet or laptop, the Kindle edition is a steal at just $3.99!

P.S. I also got a copy of Ben’s audio CD, Destino. Ben has played in many of the Key West bars . . . if you like Jimmy Buffett’s music, you’ll like Ben’s songs. Most are his own compositions – my favorite is “Short on Underwear” which captures the all-too-frequent essence of cruising.

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8 Comments
  • JP Pedro
    Posted at 25 December 2015 Reply

    Ahahah. You might be right. Religion change it all for convenience.

  • Kris Steyn
    Posted at 25 December 2015 Reply

    Current price $6.83 , still a good price

  • Debra Perfitt
    Posted at 25 December 2015 Reply

    Merry Christmas from La Cruz Mexico from the #CoastalDrifter Crew ⛵️

  • Sandy Lee
    Posted at 26 December 2015 Reply

    That’s great Helen. Sending wishes to you and Ben for a new year filled with new memories. <3

  • June Ruby
    Posted at 30 December 2015 Reply

    That book was a fun, interesting read. We had a particular interest since our boat is a Cabo Rico 42; loved reading about the company history.

  • Beth Browne
    Posted at 30 December 2015 Reply

    Great tip, we’re getting a copy right now! If you haven’t read Carole Ann Borges book (she’s Fatty Goodlander’s sister!), Dreamseeker’s Daughter, I highly recommend it. She’s actually a better writer and storyteller imo than Fatty. but don’t tell him I said that. I’m a Fatty fan too.

  • June Ruby
    Posted at 27 May 2017 Reply

    Love the book – home of our Cabo Rico 42. Amazing

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