The Coast of Summer

Reader Thoughts  abtcos The Coast of Summer by Anthony Bailey, Sheridan House 1994 (paperback ed. 1999), 357 pages

“Sailing New England Waters from Shelter Island to Cape Cod”

From the back of the book:   The seductive storytelling of Anthony Bailey is as gratifying as a full-sail breeze in this enchanting tale of a season afloat along the coast of New England.  Poking into deep harbors and shallow ponds, anchoring off fashionable resorts and in remote coves, Bailey and his wife, Margot, leisurely sail between eastern Long island and the tip of Cape Cod in their small sloop, Lochinvar.

Interspersing his narrative with local history, geography and biography, Bailey evokes curious legends and brings to life those rare intriguing characters who are drawn to coastal life.  And when, on occasion, this drowsy, idyllic cruise becomes a sudden, sober battle with the perils of the sea, Bailey offers modestly but enticingly the fruits of much hard-won and not always heroic yachting experience.

“In prose as gentle as the breezes that push his craft….  Bailey pulls you right to his side on a most amiable walking/boating tour:  an inspired guide in a fascinating locale with a rich past….   Bailey’s writing flashes with drollery and wit;  he’s a  comfortable stylist who works on the reader like a masseur.   From the shoals of Madaket to Sow and Pigs reef, Bailey wraps the reader up in this highly entertaining sea passage.”   – Kirkus Reviews

“…an engaging account….  Readers familiar with the area – its shorelines and waters – will savor every word.”  – Publishers Weekly

A BIG SHOUT OUT to Belle!  aka Ms.Bookish.   Who didn’t quite ask me a question for the latest Weekly Geek event, but mentioned this book in her comment at that post.  Thank you, thank you.

MOTIVATION for reading:    I was given this book by my cousin-in-law who loves to read.   I gave her The Book Thief* for Christmas, she gave me this.       AND…  since I’m powerboating in these same waters, I was very eager to read this account.   I also think this might be my very first travelogue!


I’m rating this FOUR PIEs;   I enjoyed it very much but have one big complaint:   no bibliography!     I wish I had jotted down my own reference points as I read along.   Now I’ll just have to re-read it!    Thankfully, the chapters are titled by location, so that when we do visit Martha’s Vineyard, I can look up descriptions of landmarks, rock hazards in the coves, and favorite beaches.   I look forward to seeing how the almost twenty years must have changed the land.

This book was a delight to have as a companion book to my boating safety instruction book(s).    It brought so much alive in my mind – weather, navigation, anchoring, etc.   Even though sailors and powerboaters are not supposed to like each other – we seem to be by definition at odds and in contention, I have a huge appreciation for the romance (and hard work!) of sailing.

I must address the skill of the author in creating and evoking a proper mood – – of relaxation and/or somber careful attention;  to what it feels like to sail, both in calm waters and in times fraught with danger.   Well done, Mr. Bailey!    Click here for his Wikipedia page and see what else he has written.   By the way, he lives in Britain;  he comes to America to spend his vacations on his sailboat.

British Civil Ensign Flag
British Civil Ensign Flag



(Do visit Kathy at BermudaOnion – the originator of this meme)

p. 91   adze – a tool similar to an ax with an arched blade at right angles to thehandle, used for cutting or shaping large pieces of wood.

p. 44   menhaden – a large deep-bodied fish of the herring family that occurs along the east coast of North America. The oil-rich flesh is used to make fish meal and fertilizer.

p. 114  ewer – “… practicing for the challenge or defense of the America’s Cup, the gruesome silver ewer which has come to represent supremacy in yacht racing.” – a large jug with a wide mouth, formerly used for carrying water for someone to wash in.

p. 130   avuncular** – of or relating to an uncle.

p. 131  seagirt – surrounded by sea

p. 180 – manqué – having failed to become what one might have been; unfulfilled.

p. 236 – priapic“(the Pilgrim monument…)  With a red beacon light glowing on top, it seems less a commemoration of the Pilgrims’ oceanic achievements than a most unpuritan priapic emblem.” – of or relating to male sexuality and sexual activity

Port of East Greenwich RI
Port of East Greenwich RI

* Unfortunately, my gift to her required her to read and give back to me!    I won’t be returning to her The Coast of Summer – I want to keep it and refer to it.    Sorry Linda!

** I am ever-looking up this word!  Every single freakin’ time I encounter it, I jot down the page.  Why oh why can I not remember this definition?


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