Beyond The Horizon: Sailing Around The World
The author shares his dream of sailing around the world, first formulated when he was six years old. The outfitting of his boat for the task and the trip itself taking 7 1⁄2 years, starting and ending in Hawaii. Leading him as far north as Alaska, south to New Zealand and into the relatively uncharted waters of the Black Sea, up the Dnieper River in the Ukraine and to Saudi Arabia. Along the way he encounters high winds to 70 knots and 50 foot waves, equipment breakdowns that have to be diagnosed and fixed without outside help. A boarding by armed vigilantes in Indonesia, the killing of a cruising friend by escaped convicts in Panama and the author holding a Rumanian Marines Uzi hostage, add excitement not normally expected in a sailing venture. The expected satisfying experiences of natural beauty, the encounters with wildlife and the interaction with wonderful people along the way are not neglected. The author meets his future wife in Tonga and previously single-handing, he is now able to share his adventures with this lovely Polynesian maiden. The book is full of helpful information on various technical aspects and explanations to help even non-sailors understand and enjoy, vicariously, the sailing life. Many anecdotes illustrate the challenges and rewards of a life at sea.
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Beyond the Horizon: Sailing Around the World on "Columbine" has only one prerequisite for complete enjoyment; and that requirement is an overall interest in sailing - whether it be from an armchair or from the captain's chair.
One might think this too obvious to mention, as the book's subtitle includes mention of sailing, but many sailing books are actually not adventure reads but 'how to' treatises - unlike Beyond the Horizon, which details the author's 7 1/2 year circumnavigation of the globe via sailboat, beginning and ending in Hawaii. Yes, there's a good number of tips on how to overcome a range of problems from breakdowns to cultural encounters - but the overall feel is of high adventure, and plenty of action makes this much more than a boat-oriented journey alone, as it voyages into dangerous cultural waters as well.
These descriptions of cultural problems and how they were overcome is as much a part of Kraus's story as the chapters of sailing descriptions. Stories relate navigation challenges in specific locales that range from Alaska to Indonesia, pointing out the importance of good charts, the challenge of sailing through kelp beds, and the cultural intricacies of dating women in Tonga.
Now, finer attention to editing would have solved some minor punctuation and grammar flaws peppered throughout ("This book chronicles the authors 7 1/2 year circumnavigation." and "They all hoped for peace, but it seems, perhaps only on their turns."). While these should be noted, they are actually minor disturbances to the force of the story being told: a satisfying romp through customs, cultural oddities, government encounters sometimes annoying and occasionally frightening.
Expect a gripping first-person sailing yarn replete with odd characters, close encounters, and irksome situations - all of which Werner H. Kraus overcomes with a sailor's flexibility and grace. Any who love accounts of sailing adventures, mishaps, and high seas adventure will relish the lively autobiographical stories and cultural revelations in Beyond the Horizon.
(It should be mentioned that the author's website offers sample text and the book's photographs in color - plus, the option of buying an autographed copy directly from the author.)