I wasn’t planning to write about another book but as I finished this particular book I felt it merited wider readership than just within the sailing community.

The book recounts a love story and an adventure without equal. A young woman moves to Uganda to marry the man she loves against parental approval being barely 18 years old. There with her architect husband, they and their two architect friends save enough money to move to Lamu Island in Kenya in search of the traditional “fundi” dhow builders. They commission the build of a yacht of their design but built of the same materials and techniques as the dhows which have ploughed the trading routes between East Africa, the Gulf and India for centuries. Set in the mid 1960s this a triumph of creativity, character and willpower in the face of adversity, material shortages and cultural and language barriers.

In the space of a year they build their 42 foot gaff rigged yacht. The yacht, christened Mjojo after their infant child born in Uganda, has no engine, no radio transmitter and no modern navigation aids beyond a compass, charts, sextant and celestial navigation tables.

The five and a sixth last minute crew member set sail from Lamu to the Seychelles and then down via some Indian Ocean Islands, whose name I read for the first time ever in this book, to Mozambique and South Africa. They endure some harsh conditions but their tenacity shines through. In Durban Di who became pregnant again during their trip has a second child. At his point most of us would have jacked it in but not this crew.

After the rounding the Cape of Good Hope they set sail for Rio, Brazil via Saint Helena. Not only is the sailing challenging but imagine the social constraints of apartheid era South Africa in the late 1960s. Nothing seems insurmountable to this band of brothers and their two infants.

Things get even more difficult on the last two legs of the trip when crew changes change the personal dynamics on the boat. From Brazil they set sail for the U.K. with a stop in the Azores. I was pleased that even the now famous Peter’s Sports Bar yachtie watering hole was already famous. It’s a place where I went to pay homage in 2016. The U.K. is now on the horizon and soon the dynamics will once again change and cause heartbreak. The need to school the young children conflicts with the desire for a nomadic oceanic lifestyle. The marriage falls apart but even worse is to come but you need to read the book because I have not done it justice. If seamanship and the meaning of life are important to you read this book soon.


Eleven years ago on my wife’s birthday I planned a weekend away to a boutique hotel in the “Serranía de Ronda” called “Los Castaños”. We arrived in my branded “Boatshed Gibraltar” vehicle which inevitably led to a conversation about sailing. Di then told me about her adventure but perhaps my listening skills need improving because I had not realised the import of her story. Fast forward to a birthday eleven years later and a return to Los Castaños and its gastronomic delights. In the interval Di has written her book and I couldn’t resist getting a copy signed by the author. I wasn’t disappointed.