book review - the accidental captain

book review – the accidental captain

$12.95 paperback, $8.95 ebook

Although well over 100 books have been reviewed in the pages of WindCheck, The Accidental Captain has the distinction of being the first to make this reviewer laugh before even opening it. On the cover is the smiling author, Glenn Patron, blissfully unconcerned by the imminent sinking of his somewhat-less-than-Bristol fashion vessel. She’s listing heavily to port, detritus-filled cockpit awash as gear floats away while he raises a glass in a toast to The Good Life. In a message sent with a review copy of the book, Patron noted, “I am certain that your review will disprove that old saying, and that you CAN tell a book by its cover.”

Chronicling “20 years of learning to sail by trial & terror,” the autobiographical narrative includes a childhood spent dreaming of the ocean adventures he read about in such books as Wanderer by Sterling Hayden and Kon Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl. Patron’s own sailing, however, had a most inauspicious beginning: he never actually sailed the first two boats he owned.

After spending time as a beach bum, entrepreneur, motorcycle racer and stand-up comedian the author was skirting the edge of failure, but his life changed when he met Gale, an accomplished, adventurous and beautiful sailor. Rebuilding an abandoned 30-footer launched a two-decade voyage of discovery, mishaps and triumphs. Although plenty of books about sailing have glossaries, none are as genuinely useful as one with such practical definitions as Keel: Hull appendage used to determine the depth of a body of water.

Entertaining and highly recommended, The Accidental Captain “reads like a Jimmy Buffett song, sung by Woody Allen.” (Wish I’d thought of that.) It’s available at, and a portion of all sales will be donated to the Ocean Conservancy for the cleaning of our oceans for future generations.