Volume 93, Issue x

Wednesday, March 18, 1999


Blinker signals upward turn

Serial Joe embarks on random thrilling spree

Animals do fair share of star grazing

Western alumnus pens adventure around the world

Western alumnus pens adventure around the world

Alayne Nain
Sailing Promises

She met her husband on the varsity swim team, married him two years after she graduated with a medical degree, then moved to Toronto where they both settled into jobs. Sounds like a normal life – until the couple decided to sail around the world on a catamaran, that is.

Western alumnus Alayne Main's first novel, Sailing Promise, details her adventures with her husband, after quitting their jobs in Toronto to journey around the world. Their epic begins in Florida and takes them down through the Panama Canal, across the Pacific to New Zealand, through South Asia, up the Red Sea to the Mediterranean and finally across the Atlantic and back home.

Along their route they strive to visit the most remote and interesting locales, as far removed from Western civilization as they can find, which makes for an adventure in the truest sense of the word. From swimming with sharks to braving the pirate infested waters of the South China Sea, many exciting places are presented to the reader.

Although it reads like a travel journal, the trip itself is not the only dimension to the story – the dynamic of the author's relationship with her husband and fellow traveller Alec is explored as well.

Alayne's emotional nature and Alec's calm and calculated ways make for some heated arguments and rough spots in their relationship, which adds to the story as a whole.

As the couple meets other cruisers and forms friendships along the way, the dynamic of their floating community is also explored. Almost all the other cruisers prove to be helpful, creating a community similar to a small town.

What readers may find most fascinating in the narrative is the descriptions of foreign cultures and locales. The couple meets people from all walks of life and it is fascinating to see not only how the locals relate to the two travellers, but also how the travellers relate to them. It is always interesting to see their preconceived ideas shattered and new impressions formed.

The book also gives the reader insight as to what it's like to sail on a vast expanse of water. Anyone who has had this kind of experience can relate to the thrill and feeling of freedom. In reading the story, what is missing from North American lives is also evident – a closeness to nature and distance from commercialism. As a whole, the book did Main's story justice in including this multidimensional view.

This book is recommended to readers who are looking for an escape from the drab Canadian winter, are considering embarking on an adventure abroad, or are simply searching for an interesting look at a life which moves up and down with the waves.

–Eli Stoffman

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Copyright The Gazette 1999