The Cruise of the Fairweather is an account of a circumnavigation, from San Francisco to San Francisco, that began by sailing down the west coast of Mexico, and then by sailing west: across the South Seas, the East Indies, the Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Atlantic Ocean, and then back up the west coast of Mexico. The cruise lasted four years, from March 1961 to April 1965. This account is based on the journal that Suttie Adams kept during the cruise, supplemented with details from Fairweather’s logbook and 38 original photos. During the four years of the cruise, the schooner Fairweather sailed 35,566 miles, spent 349 days at sea, and visited 103 ports. Was it a successful cruise? Well, many of the original crew were still aboard when the Fairweather sailed back under the Golden Gate and into San Francisco Bay. Those few who left the schooner during the cruise never left willingly, with the possible exception of Bill Adams, the original captain, but let Suttie tell that story.
From the back cover: Otis starts from Manila on a short cruise that turns into a voyage of weeks and months as his sloop sails farther and farther into the Pacific Ocean. He is somewhere east of Fiji when he passes through the barrier reef of an island he doesn’t know the name of because he doesn’t have a chart. He has left a lot behind and now he thinks only of sailing home. But the island he has arrived at won’t let him leave, not until he finds out what happened on the Far Atoll.
From the back cover: His father told him to sail Jest, a 35-foot boat, from San Francisco to Hawaii. No, he thought. No, he couldn’t imagine himself doing that. He couldn’t imagine spending days at sea and sailing thousands of miles with nothing but an empty horizon before him. But he knew his father would be after him. So he took Jest out of her slip in Sausalito and tried to hide in a small, out-of-the-way harbor. When that didn’t work, he tried to run away by sailing down the coast to Mexico. But that wasn’t enough either. He had to keep running by sailing across the ocean to the South Seas. He sailed farther than he planned, farther than he even thought possible, until eventually, after thousands of miles, he sailed alone around the world.
. . . a completely extraordinary piece of classic coming-of-age literature.