The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

Love With A Chance of Drowning

Screen Shot 2013-12-07 at 11.11.09 AM

Keeping myself in books is a fulltime job even though I don’t discriminate between eBooks and regular books—it’s all good. Mysteries, biographies, non-fiction, travel writing, the occasional novel—I read them all.

My obsession with books is okay when I stick to the swap and sell-off quick tables, but whenever I enter a bookstore with a credit card in my wallet, John gets nervous. With justification.

A few weeks ago we were in Halifax running errands and, while I was waiting for John, I just happened to end up at this great independent bookstore. And that’s where I found Love with a Chance of Drowning by Torre DeRoche. Well, there was no way I was walking out without that book (along with a few more).

If you don’t mind a bit of rough language and quite a lot of personal information, this book is a great read. It’s the true story of an Australian woman and Argentinian man who meet up in California. He’s a sailor and she is mortally terrified of deep water. They fall in love a few months before he’s set to sail around the world. What’s a woman to do? Well, Torre hops aboard and the journey begins.

Unfortunately, her lover has some sailing experience but is not so good at the maintenance part of voyaging, which does lead to some exciting and avoidable adventures. And Torre goes catatonic when scared, which she is a lot when offshore. But together they manage to get to Tonga.

I must say that I could relate to Torre’s story in some ways. I also jumped aboard a boat without knowing a thing about sailing and took off on a 5-day early spring delivery to Maine. I also suffer a lot from anxiety, which can be quite wearing on John at times, as I look for reassurance.

However, there are also a lot of differences between our stories. For one thing, I got on board Morgan’s Cloud for the sailing, not for the guy. That came later. I also went sailing with someone with a vast amount of experience and a dedication to maintaining his boat at a high standard, which really limits the mayhem. And, though I am a poster girl for Anticipation Anxiety, I tend to cope well when the going actually does get rough, rather than keel over like a myotonic goat as Torre admits to doing.

So, if you want a light, funny, heart-warming read, this just might be for you (John enjoyed it too). It also just might solve the what-should-I-buy-so-and-so-for-Christmas problem.

And it’s another story that supports what Mark Twain so famously wrote:

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Great review…
That said, in the FYI department the quote you attributed to Mr Twain is not a Twain quote. The quote belongs to H. Jackson Brown’s mother. See page 13 in Brown’s 1991 book: P.S. I Love You: When Mom Wrote, She Always Saved the Best for Last.

John Harries


There is quite a bit of debate on the matter. Like so many things, not as clear as we would like it to be.

After quite a bit of research Phyllis went with the popular view.

Marc Dacey

With sailors, I find rough language as common as bad splices, so it’s hardly surprising. If you liked these sort of things, Phyllis, and I do find honest accounts of cruising couples to be a bit thin on the ground, you might enjoy “Two on a Boat”, the poet Gwenyth Lewis’s account of running off to sea. I reviewed it here:

A similar, if slightly older, tale is that of Northern Magic, which I reviewed here:

You may recognize the writer’s honest appraisal of going to sea as a virtual know-nothing…but eventually obtaining the skills of seamanship after deciding cringing on the sole isn’t a great way to sail.

I’ll give a plug to my friends at Nautical Mind bookstore here in Toronto, where the above books are available and which is very much the sort of place John and your credit card should be afraid of!

John Rushworth


Thanks for the review and suggestion.

What though, for the financially challenged sailor in the book dept?

Two free books I can heartily recommend are Confessions of a Long-Distance sailor by Paul Lutus. I found this of interest because he basically went sailing on the proceeds of having written the Apple Mac “Apple Writer” word processing program.

I like Paul’s attitude to the world too. Here is his free e-book

The other is Jame’s Baldwin’s Across Islands and Oceans – A Journey Alone Around the World By Sail and By Foot.

John R.

John Rushworth

Oh! I also meant to say whilst on the subject of book economics, that I find the Overdrive Software where you can lend from your local library on various software platforms, most useful.

It works well for me on my Windows Phone and other platforms. Yes, it is possible to read books on your phone, but maybe that is not for all?

I was also able to borrow Dame Ellen MacArthurs Biographies at no cost and many out of copyright books.

I also enjoyed Chris Stewart’s – Three Ways to Capsize a Boat. He use to be the drummer with the band Genesis, but latterly has become known for his books on an Andalucian hill farm, such as Driving Over Lemons.

Anyway, just a heads up for economic books.

John R.

richard e. stanard (s/v lakota)

after more than a couple years of following aac i think i have arrived because while the note on my em never says who is the author of the latest post it brings me, as soon as i saw the couple of teaser lines i knew this would be from phyllis 🙂 …i’ll have something for you from santa in the next few days as i whittle down my christmas list…cheers

Robert Sapp

Trouble finding an adequate supply of books? Let’s see if we can work a deal to do a little bit to address that issue. My wife and I are on a glideslope to wrap up our careers and head out cruising next year or the one after. I’ve always wanted to write, and liked the idea of having a transportable job that could generate a bit of extra income while out sailing. My first novel is a Michael Crichton style science thriller called Lunar Dance that tells the amazing story of the first commercial moon voyage. You can find the amazon listing at I’ve enjoyed reading your blog immensely, so here’s what I propose. I’ll send you a gift ebook version of Lunar Dance (as in, a free Kindle copy). If you read it and like it, give me a nice review on Amazon, and/or maybe even make a brief mention of it on your blog, your choice. If you don’t like it, we never met and you skip the whole review and/or plug thing. Whadaya think?

John Harries

Hi Robert,

Sorry, if we review something, be it book or gear, the chips fall where they may. If we don’t like it, or don’t think it has value, we say that.

Having said that, we are really not in the business of doing reviews.

Robert Sapp

I would very quickly do so if my book were a sailing adventure, but since it has a space exploration theme, I’ve focused my limited web advertising dollars on sites that cater to space enthusiasts. For example, over 18,000 unique views on only resulted in three sales, so the conversion rate doesn’t appear to be sufficient to cover the advertising on non-space and aviation sites. I am considering writing a post-apocalyptic pirate adventure as my next novel, however, so we may discuss this again. Anyway, thanks for what you do, I’ve learned a great deal (and hopefully have taught a small bit as well, as I have contributed to threads in the past). And just FYI, if you have Prime, you can borrow Lunar Dance on Kindle for free. And you knew I was kidding about the “you don’t know me” thing, right? I’ve been aboard long enough to know you don’t pull many punches. Regards, Robert