Here's an unedited, unexpurgated selection of reviews and comments on 'Mingming & the Art of Minimal Ocean Sailing'. Many thanks to all those who have taken the trouble to write to me and to recommend the book to others:
A few colour pics would add to the book though.
G. Clarke (amazon.co.uk)
Roger Taylor re writes the books on small boat sailing. From his continual experiment and adventures on oceans where most of us would not dare to venture in much larger yachts he shows us how its done. Grit, determination but most of all preparation, planning and safety take his little yacht (a Corribee, junk rig 21 ft long)on 3 voyages. All described in detail with feelings of joy and desperate disapointments, humour and pathos. 2 voyages taking Mingming well above the Arctic Circle.
I read it over 4 days and I think I lost 3/4 of a stone.
The "Sail Plan diet". I was with you all the way Roger.
A joy from end to end.
Captures the essence of realistic single-handed sailing, in a manner which belies the underlying addictiveness of his journeying.
A big thank you, from the armchair, of a retired sailor!
Tim Stewart (amazon.co.uk)
I grew up in the 70s and 80s surrounded by adventure and adventurous people. My parental peer group were climbing unclimbed mountains or telling tales of first time single handing across oceans. My childhood holidays were spent crossing continents overland or being allowed and encouraged to take off overseas on my bike. My bookshelves were lined with adventure - fictional and real.
But I always worried that by the time I grew up, there would be nothing more to discover and that there wouldn't be room in the world for adventure. And, looking around, it seems I was right. There's not much you can't do or places you can't get to if you have a decent credit card. Mobile phones work on Everest and my, now rather elderly, mother has travelled the length of the Amazon and followed the Silk Road. If it's possible, even the oceans have been tamed by money. There's plenty of companies that get you across the Atlantic - with a crew or on your own in the ARC fleet - if you provide the PIN number. Some of this view is just middle-aged moaning but much of it is real - you can buy a ticket on a spacecraft for God's sake.
Given this, my joy at finding people who have found real adventure between the cracks of modern life is unbounded. Taylor is one of those people and, furthermore, is blessed with the ability to write about it in a style that is all enveloping and, importantly, humble.
Mingming is his second book and covers three trips he made on his tiny 21 foot boat. These are voyages that would be major undertakings in a much larger boat with a much larger crew (than one); to Iceland and back from his home port on the East Coast, the Azores and, finally, to Greenland and back with a circumnavigation of Iceland thrown in. All this in a boat, albeit heavily modified, produced 40 years ago for day trips in the estuaries around Britain. Total cost, in boating terms, of the square root of FA.
Taylor's style is superb; beautifully descriptive of the environment and wildness and scant on boaty technicalities. This is partly because his boat is rather devoid of anything technical; no electricity, no radio, no communications or means of calling for help. The focus on the environment is because the author successfully captures the total immersion of six weeks alone at sea with nothing but environment.
Honestly, give it a read. If there's the smallest element of adventurous boy left in you, you'll love it.
Yet Another Cycling Forum (yacf.co.uk)
M17 #375 - SWEET PEA
Hierbij mijn response op de oproep van de redactie om leuke maritieme boeken over kleine zeilbootjes aan te melden.
Welnu, laatst heb ik een boek van de hand van Roger Taylor gekocht: MING MING & the art of minimal ocean sailing
Wanneer ik 's avonds laat thuiskom, dan neem ik een glas rode wijn en lees ik enkele hoofdstukken. Gegarandeerd dat ik met een glimlach inslaap. De volgende ochtend lijkt mijn Cruiser vanonder de carport mij toe te roepen: "Wanneer gaan wij?" Het boek schijnt nog maar net uit te zijn, ik heb het besteld bij de plaatselijke boekhandel. Het is in hoogstaand Engels geschreven, van tijd tot tijd moet een woord opzoeken. Maar daardoor doe ik er langer over en heb ik uiteindelijk meer waar voor m'n € 12,50.
Overigens heeft schipper Taylor een website
Veel lees- en kijkplezier!
schipper van ICHTHUS
Dit is het tweede boek van Roger Taylor. Het eerste boek
Je viens de refermer le livre de Roger D.Taylor "Mingming & the art of minimal ocean sailing"
Une série de voyages qui nous emmènent dans le grand nord ou aux Açores dans de longues traversées en solitaire sans escales sur un tout petit bateau gréé en voile de jonque. Tous les étés, Roger part sur Mingming pour une croisière de 2 mois qu'il a préparé pendant l'hiver.
La passion de Roger est de de naviguer proprement et autrement, de pratiquer une navigation minimale en terme de taille de bateau, d'équipement, d'équipage, dans des environnement extrêmes, sans aucune recherche de performance ou de reccord, juste pour le plaisir.
C'est merveilleusement écrit, au rythme lent d'une traversée, avec une omniprésence de la mer et de la faune marine. Roger nous fait partager ses joies, extraordinaires, comme le pur plaisir de naviguer au milieu des glaces, ses moments de blues, ses journées sans vents, ses rencontres avec des hordes de globicéphales qui accompagnent le Corribee pendant plusieurs heures....
De nombreux passages sont dédiés à sa conception de la voile et à son approche de la sécurité et à sa vie à bord. Un ouvrage pour ceux qui aiment ou aimeraient naviguer très très en dehors des sentiers battus. Un livre à lire lentement, dont on doit s'imprégner, malheureusement aujourd'hui, encore réservé à ceux qui aiment lire en anglais.
All excellently written up giving some great insights into what Roger Taylor appears to do best - minimalist, single-handed, ocean going voyages. Well worth a read.
The new book is in three parts, each an account of an epic voyage alone in a smallboat. Destinations vary from the Azores to Iceland and even Greenland.
They would have been an achievement in any well found sailing cruiser, but 21ft and no engine? Wow!
The stories of these trips are wonderful, being simply and modestly told, but giving an insight into life at sea for several weeks in all sorts of weather - frustrating calms, cracking sailing, a survival storm - and with close contact with whales and other sea creatures.
ST verdict: This book deserves to find a wide audience among all cruising sailors, whatever your cruising tastes. It'll be a tenner you won't regret spending.
Colin Jarman, Sailing Today, October 2010
A worthy successor to his first book, this really must deserve a place in everyone’s library.
Steve Pavey, Corribee Owners' Website
There are moments of ecstasy, such as meeting large pods of whales, some of whom seem to think that the 22 foot bilge keeled boat is some kind of sea creature. There are moments of agony, such as sailing in to anchor in a bay on the northern coast of Iceland, and having the wind die, and floating around in a rough chop for hours near a rocky shore with currents pushing the boat dangerously close to its rocky end.
In part, minimalism in sailing is the small boat in which Roger sails. But wait, Roger filled the v-berth with foam so the interior of the boat is even smaller than a normal 22 footer. And the entire area under the cockpit is full of foam, except for the quarterberths used for storage. Roger's living area is a small, well insulated cubical with barely enough length to lie down. Roger rarely exits the cabin. The cockpit is half filled with a foam filled locker, leaving just enough room for the pilot to sit and steer if needed. The boat has enough flotation that it will not sink, even if holed and flooded.
The rig is minimalist. The junk rig is managed from the hatch. It is easy to reef and add sail as needed. Roger has a seat in the hatchway which allows him to pilot the boat from a protected position. The hatch itself is a waterproof hatch, not a sliding hatch, that can be closed up completely to protect his cubical from entry of water.
The steering system is usually under the control of a windvane, although for those periods when the captain must hand steer, a whipstaff is used inside the cabin. The whipstaff control lines lead from the rudder to the cabin through the single port on the aft bulkhead of the cabin. The windvane can be adjusted by lines which are managed while standing in the hatchway. Under most conditions, there is no need to leave the cabin or the hatchway seat under a small dodger.
Roger claims to use less than a liter of water a day, on average. In addition to this he typically uses the water/broth from canned vegetables to cook. The reason for the low amount of water used is based on the low level of exposure to wind and sun.
A typical meal would be a large can of vegetables, rice or pasta cooked in the vegetable broth, mixed with tuna or other canned meat. This would serve for the evening meal, a midnight snack, and leftovers would be eaten for breakfast. Food is cooked over an alcohol stove with the amount of alcohol carefully measured to match the necessary burn time. Instant rice and quick cooking pasta are used to minimize cooking time. For lunch, a long life bread such as packaged sunflower seed bread or rye bread are eaten with cheese and jam.
Everything Roger carries with him is carefully thought out and minimized. There is no dinghy, nor motor. There are clothes, rain gear, water, food, stove fuel, navigation equipment, drogue, a camera, binoculars, vhf and ... maybe a few tools. Thats it. Roger takes a gps fix each day at noon, using a battery operated handheld gps.
Roger is a strong proponent of the Jordan Series Drogue. Due to its smooth and low stress effect on the boat, it makes heavy weather much easier on the pilot and according to Roger, the JSD is essential cruising cruising equipment for the offshore small boat sailor. Roger used the JSD for about a half a day in conditions when he felt he could no longer forereach (heave to with a junk rig) safely, due to steep waves which might roll, pitchpole and dismast the yacht.
The price that Roger pays for a minimalist boat and simple rig is that passages take a long time, and contrary winds can hold him outside of an anchorage for days, as he tries to beat his way into the weather. It may be that Roger prefers being offshore, but the fact that there were no landfalls on two of his voyages may be attributed to the danger of approaching a coast with no motor, a slow, short boat and a rig that is not optimized to claw away from a lee shore. But Roger seems to prefer the solitude and remoteness of an offshore passage, in part his goal seems to be to find beauty in the vastness and isolation of the northern seas.
Roger has accomplished arctic sailing expeditions in a small, inexpensive sailboat. He has found a way to make a trailerable sailboat into an offshore capable sailboat with full flotation. The pilot can stay warm and dry inside the cabin while tending the boats steering and rig adjustments. The Art of Minimal Sailing can reward anyone interested in exploring and crossing oceans.
I recommend this book. Roger takes his wordsmithing very seriously, you can tell that he has taken a great amount of time and effort to say things exactly the way he means to say them. He is a splendid writer.