What happens when a man of today's overconnected world sets off alone across the Pacific at the age of 71? Christian Williams, a veteran sailor and writer, planned a 6,000-mile voyage as a test of his own seamanship and endurance, and to fulfill a lifelong goal. But he found his focus quickly turning from the surrounding sea to all of us. Is anyone the same person when no one else is there? Do we dare to find out? In a new world of soaring seabirds, violent storms, and majestic emptiness, Williams discovered answers to questions he had never asked about who we are, why we sail, and the universal fear of being alone.
Alone Together is a complete technical course in offshore sailing technique and yacht preparation, and a philosophical inquiry into what it takes to be truly alive in the 21st century.
©2016 Christian Williams (P)2016 Christian Williams
I found that I couldn't stop listening to this book... I loved the thoughts, wisdom and honesty that only a fine man of deep experience could tell. Absolutely lapped up the technical explanations too, and the processes that were clearly laid out with uncompromising self critique and humour.
"For Every Sailor and Those Dreaming of the Seas"
This was a wonderful book with a wide range of information, sailing tips, personal stories, and philosophical speculations. This book should be on the shelf of every sailor and of every dreamer that one day hopes to sail the oceans.
Just about everything is covered in this book including how the author selected his boat, how to prepare for a long voyage, coastal and ocean sailing tips, general sailing information, daily boat maintenance and activities, problems and repairs while underway, the feeling of isolation while sailing the ocean, and the feeling of finding one's soul while truly alone and out of the reach of civilization.
The author also did a very good job narrating the book himself. It was not the best narration I've heard on audible, but it was definitely one of the things that made the book so personal.
I not only learned things while reading this book, I found it truly inspiring and thought-provoking. Anyone with an interest in sailing or a dream of someday getting there will certainly be inspired and captivated by this book.
The author displays a courage and spirit that must be admired. He is a talented writer and - after a somewhat monotonous beginning - the adventure will grab you and not let you go. It is a masterful teaching tool, that schools you effortlessly in the art of sailing, and the author does so like your favorite professor from college. Well worth the outlay and time commitment. As an aside, I had hoped he would have decided to continue his solo journey, taking us with him through the South Pacific.
"Best for the arm chair adventurer, or a sailor or philosopher"
This is a great book, especially this audio version. I had tried to read the paper back version and had a hard time following the author. Unlike any book I have ever read or listen to before the author navigates his story, his stories through confusing seas. The book is really three stories in one. One part, a story of being seduced by the sails, boats, wind and like minded sailors. Another part about what it takes to sail across a ocean. The daily chores, navigation, sail changes and mid ocean repairs. And the third part of searching the soul for answers to questions that only come to people who spend weeks....truly alone.
What I found hard to read was memorizing to listen to. I want to follow is wake, I want to sail to distance shores myself. I crave the challenge that started in me as a boy from the national geographic story following the DOVE around the world. I too want to let time alone tease out questions for deep inside me.
Listening to the author read his own book was delightful, insightful and made smile at the world. The book was so memorizing that I pulled over in a highway road side to listen to the last half hour.
"An excellent listen"
It felt like I was right there with him. Even the most trivial task on the boat was an enjoyable listen. He has a way with words that make his experience seem wholesome and relatable. I highly recommend this audiobook for anyone who enjoys sailing and finding oneself in solitude.
"Super! Wonderful! Enriching! Delightful!"
I've read and listened to dozens of books about sailing and sailing journeys, and, by far, this is the best ever! I don't know that I learned much new about sailing or maintenance techniques because I've read/experienced much of that before. But what this book taught me was an attitude that I hope to emulate and work to maintain. The calm, deliberate and quiet confidence mixed with humility and humour may be the most important lesson ever.
However, I didn't really read it to learn, I read it to enjoy, and enjoy it I did. I found myself laughing aloud at times and experiencing the quiet, reverence and awe that must come to all singlehanders at times. I feel like I was actually there, through the good and the not so good. I feel enriched and deeply satisfied by this book. I just finished it and I know that I won't want to start another for a few days - preferring to let this one linger and echoes in my thoughts a while longer. Thanks for a fantastic trip, Christian. I'd sail with you again any time!
"Excellent expansion of the YouTube video."
Ever watch a movie and think, "I want more!", then track down the book and find it full of rich details that bring additional depth and texture to the story?
Well, that is exactly what happens in "Alone Together". I watched Christian Williams' video twice, I loved it so. I may just listen to the book again as well. Wonder what type of auto-helm equipment he used? He not only tells you, he tells the surprising story of the actual purchase. The book is full of wonderful stories and the details never become tedious.
I did rate the performance down a bit. But only because I have heard the author narrate his videos so masterfully. For whatever reason, I found his narration a bit slow and stilted at times. As much as I enjoy the tones of Mr. Williams' voice, as happy as I was to find he narrated his own book, I was slightly disappointed by those two small deficiencies. Perhaps I'm over-sensitive, having suffered through too many Scott Brick narrations to tolerate a performance even slightly resembling the almost unlistenable experience I endured with the "Coyote" sci-fi series.
If you enjoy sailing, have ever considered cruising or single-handing or solo sailing to Hawaii, this book is for you. Mr Williams is a great story teller!
"Mr. Williams narration was very enjoyable."
I was drawn to this story from Mr. Williams YOUTUBE video. I hope he continues to write, because I was there with him from beginning to end. We became friends and I'm going to miss him.
"Much more than just a sailing story"
Sailing enthusiasts will enjoy this book, but so will all those interested in a reflective journey into the nature of self, and the importance of the interrelation between ourselves and the many people whose influence in our lives makes us who and what we are. This book will all those who are learning to come to terms with middle or old age. It reveals both the limitations and the depth of personality wisdom and equilibrium that come with the advancing of the years and a life well lived.
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