For all the ocean voyaging dreamers out there, here’s a book review to inspire by local PNW author Wendy Hinman…
The Long Way Back by Lois Joy Hofmann
This book is the third in a series of gorgeous picture books that take you all the way around the world with the author and her husband Günter aboard their 43-foot catamaran Pacific Bliss. Together they covered 34,000 miles, visiting 62 countries during their eight-year circumnavigation. Hofmann’s trilogy of books began with Maiden Voyage, which covered commissioning their boat and taking it a third of the way around the world from France through the Panama Canal to San Diego. Hofmann shared the second third of their voyage across the South Pacific to Australia in her second book Sailing the South Pacific, a book that brought back many happy memories for me.
The Long Way Back completes the circle with tales of sailing their Catamaran up the coast of Australia, through Indonesia, and on to Southeast Asia and through the Red Sea to the Mediterranean, where their voyage began in France. What intrigued me most about this book was the insight it offered on waters less traveled.
Just as her other books have, this last book highlights their adventures in loving detail with dialogue and description in a way that puts you in the moment as events unfold, with all anecdotes accompanied by vividly colorful photographs that bring the voyage alive. It shares the thrills and the dangers of voyaging offshore and visiting other cultures. In addition to their story, it also features maps, drawings and helpful tips on the Beaufort Scale of Sea States, a glossary of boat terms, and boat specifications. It also shares sidebars that outline the geography, history, and cultures from each of the countries they visited that enrich the story.
Whereas many stories of sailing voyages around the world feature monohulls, the details of life at sea aboard a catamaran makes this story unusual. Hofmann’s books have garnered the admiration from happy readers as well as won various book awards.
For anyone who has circumnavigated the globe as this couple did or sailed some of these waters, this and her first two books will spawn a surge of happy memories. Anyone who has dreamed of setting sail—aboard any boat and especially a catamaran—might enjoy them just as much for the inspiring lessons they offer and the moment-to-moment perspective of what life is like at sea. Both the voyage and the books are two parts of an admirable undertaking, successfully executed.