Why is this book so long (over 700 pages not counting four Appendices)?
June 16, 2014
One of the most frequent comments I get is about the length the book. All I can say is that it is a really long way around the world and sailboats don't go very fast. Forty thousand miles and twelve years of spacetime is very small in the context of the universe but, applying relativity, it is very large in the context of our lives and travels. We went a lot of places and a lot of things happened. I wanted to tell the whole story and that task ended up taking 722 pages.
The photo of Piscataway here was taken approaching the northern end of Australia's Great Barrier Reef on a beautiful day with very light wind. We hoisted our two largest light air sails (the spinniker and the mizzen staysail) and got about 7 knots of speed, but the average all the way around probably was closer to 4 knots, about the same speed that you walk.
Getting back to the question of the length of the book, I should mention that the pages include not just the story of the voyage but also considerable information about route planning, provisioning, maintenance and repairs. I also share (in the shaded sections) some of the thoughts that I mulled over during the long nights at helm, when I let my mind run free about all kinds of subjects, not just the pleasure or pain of the conditions and surroundings but also ideas that fascinated me as I looked at the stars and wondered about the origin and future of the universe. If you don't want to take the time for a 700+ page book, the Author's Guide on page vii near the beginning for hints on how to skim over of skip parts of the book that you think may not interest you.