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“I hopped back into the car and drove to the local supermarket. In a few minutes I had picked up some bread and cheese and a bottle of good wine. I stopped next door and bought a knife, plate and a decent glass and headed back to the grave. Dad may be gone but that did not stop me from having lunch with him. I spread a towel on the ground and pulled the cork on the wine. Three hadeda’s flew overhead making a racket as they came in for landing. I looked around for the monkeys but they were lying low. I poured myself a glass of wine and tipped a little onto the soft dirt alongside the grave. “For you Dad,” I said. “Cheers.”

“The summer afternoon storms were especially violent. The heat of the day would simmer and smolder until the sky turned an angry bruised blue and the wind dropped to an eerie stillness. We would hear the thunder start, the storm gathering strength on the hot plains outside the city and then it would get so dark that the streetlights came on automatically. Sometimes with the rain and thunder came hail, the white pellets of ice pounding down on the tin roof and bouncing off the green grass. My mother would gather us inside, away from any window – we were told that glass attracted lightning – and we watched as the storm passed overhead. As quickly as it had started, the rain ended, the streetlights went off and the sun came out again.

RACE TO FREEDOM – by VLAD MURNIKOV.   Now available in the STORE. In 1989 I was living a quiet life on Cape Cod, married with a small daughter. With two Whitbread Round the World races behind me I was not looking to do another but had been keeping a close eye on the fleet assembling in England for the race starting that summer. A record 15 maxi boats were scheduled to take the start line, among them an entry from the Soviet Union. I paid particular attention to this boat as my old friend and former skipper, Skip Novak, had found his way on board as co-skipper. He had told me of some of their struggles just to get the boat built and I was sure that with the mountain of financial and technical difficulties they faced that they would not make the start. I was wrong.

AROUND THE WORLD IN 79 DAYS – by CAM LEWIS.   Now available in the STORE. In 1993 many sailors and armchair adventurers were mesmerized by the intrepid voyage of Cam Lewis and four Frenchmen as they raced around the world in an attempt to break the mythical 80 day barrier. At the time it seemed an unlikely undertaking. 80 days was just too fast for a sailboat to make a complete lap of the planet but Jules Verne had written a fictitious account of an improbable around-the-world voyage and so the Jules Verne trophy was cast and the chase was on to be the first to claim it.