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Ready to Come About - Book CoverBy Katherine Stone

Ready to Come About (a memoir) By: Sue Williams

Sue Williams wasn’t a sailor and didn’t have an adventure bone in her body. Her idea of a thrill was doing applique! So it isn’t surprising that the cover of the book Ready to Come About is actually one of her appliques. They often say of life changing events that life seems to take on new meaning. Her husband Dave had just suffered a grand mal seizure caused by stress and sleep deprivation, and then been fired from his job after 11 years of loyal service. Sitting bolt upright in the middle of the night Sue exclaimed, “I know what the we must do. An ocean crossing’s what you’ve dreamt of doing, so that’s what we’re going to do.”

Dave was an experienced sailor, and their boat named Inia, an Alberg 30, was a sturdy, ocean-going vessel. They took navigation and boat engine maintenance courses and a year to prepare themselves and the boat for the year long trip across the Atlantic. In their mid-50s, they had no blue-water experience, but they were well prepared.

Leaving Hamilton Harbour in May 2007 they were gone 373 days, had 14 offshore passages, travelled 11,000 NM and were 86 days at sea. Through all manner of catastrophes, they persevered, solved problems and accomplished things they never thought they could do. Overcoming sea sickness, sleep deprivation, losing both anchors and ground tackle, constant motion and mechanical problems it certainly lives up to the motto that “The rougher the passage the more joyful the landing”. Sue and Dave now truly understand that the mind has the ability to be tested beyond what is humanly possible and carry on.

Map of SV Inia VoyageSeriously doubting themselves, Sue wrote, “Up to this point, Inia had been in the water for a little more than a week and had travelled only about 150 NM from home, during which she had almost sunk, the head had exploded, the Zodiac had sprung a leak, we had run aground, and both the outboard and diesel motors had broken down. Yet we were heading for the Atlantic Ocean where there would be no stores, no help, and no turning back. Were we crazy? Right off our rockers?”

Although Dave may have been the captain of the boat, Sue was the captain of the voyage, as she was the one who decided that they must cross the Atlantic, and ended up steering the boat all through the Erie Canal and in and out of tricky mooring and docking situations.

Inia Anchored off Ilha Da CulatraInia anchored off Ilha da Culatra, near Olhao, in the Algarve region of Portugal. 

The book is available through Dundurn press for $20.99 at the Nautical Mind book store, Indigo Chapters, Amazon and has now been listed for 4-1/2 months on the best seller list. Come see them at the Toronto Boat Show in January and get your own autographed copy. I can truly attest that it is a great page turner and a MUST read for any woman who thinks that she couldn’t possibly go cruising, cross an ocean or who needs to get out of her comfort zone to grow and have an adventure – possibly learning more about herself. This isn’t to say that men won’t find the book interesting or enjoyable, as they certainly will!