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Mystery & Drama

Review of “Southeast to Panama” – Robert C. Devine

DevineDevine’s lifelong passion for sailing serves him well as a crewman aboard a catamaran sailboat bound from Puerto Vallarta to Fort Lauderdale via the Panama Canal.  Indeed, he casts himself as the narrator and protagonist in this tale of adventure, intrigue and romance. The plot revolves around a disparate hired crew of four men who are charged with the task of “transporting” an aged sixty-five foot boat over dangerous waters.

Devine is the “details man” in the crew.  Before they set sail, he is to inventory all of the equipment and fittings aboard the boat complete with a diagram of where they are located, and how functional they are.  What’s more, he is the ship’s “provisioner”, the guy who sees to it that all of the meals they will consume en-route are purchased and stowed with a meticulous first-in-last-out methodology.

The reader looking for an authentic depiction of a crewman’s life aboard a craft such as this, the duties, the layout of the boat, “watch” assignments, reactions to weather conditions and other contingencies will not be disappointed.  Devine is ready with an explanation of nautical terminology, navigation, communication, and the command hierarchy of the voyage to say nothing of the description of each of the ports large and small that are stops along the way.  It’s a gold mine of details about an actual sailing voyage through the Panama Canal. However, when the writer goes for something more in the text than hour by hour diary entries, the figurative sails of the yarn go slack, and the reader looks about for an editor.


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  1. I fell in love with being on the ocean when I was in the Marines. Spent seven months aboard ship. If the story is more about the mundane of boat life than it is about a story, I think I have already lived it.
    Jon Jefferson recently posted..The Morning AfterMy Profile

    1. Hi Jon – I suspect there are a ton of landlubbers out there who have no idea what happens aboard a pleasure craft such as this. I’d be one of them.
      Larry Crane recently posted..Review of “Southeast to Panama” – Robert C. DevineMy Profile

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