Summary of reviews of the book – The Voyage of The Aegre

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Reviews of the book The Voyage of The Aegre

The owner of any small boat who plans to sail, one day, beyond the far horizon, must wonder what they would do if the GPS fails and they don’t have a sextant, or a mast. The answer lies in the story of the Voyage of The Aegre. A terrific adventure. John Ridgway, 1966 North Atlantic rower, Round the World sailor, Adventurer, Author

This is an epic sailing tale. They had no experience, no money and an unsuitable boat. yet they made the voyage of a lifetime. It’s not just the wind that propels boats, it’s the determination of the people who sail them. And this couple had more than enough to get themselves halfway round the world. Your boat is a wreck and sinking, your sextant has gone over the side and you are lost. Oh, and you’re hundreds of miles from land. What do you do now? You dig deep and show what true seamanship you possess. The voyage started as a dream, but when it became a nightmare they showed what true seamanship is. From a simpler age of sailing when you were led across oceans by the sun and the stars, this book deserves to join the classics. It is simply a top-class read. Paul Heiney, Royal Cruising Club.

The Voyage of The Aegre is a story of courage and adventure we don’t often see equalled. Every page takes us deeply into the nitty-gritty of the whole venture, including the self-doubt and interpersonal challenges. As I devoured the work, I remembered my own youth and the hope, strength and sheer energy that kept me going in the hard times. Yet all my experience pales when compared with what happened to them 150 miles out from Tahiti. Their boat is capsized, swept clean and could easily have been left derelict. With no radio or life raft, survival depends on resources, initiative and the refusal to give in.  Tom Cunliffe, Yachting World, August 2023. See full review here

Not only is this a compelling story, but Nick tells it with a relaxed chatty style. The jacket tells us he’s a ‘born storyteller’; he’s had 50 years to hone this particular one and it shows. There’s no doubt in my mind that this book will quickly join the library of classic survival stories, alongside tomes such as Survive the Savage Sea, by Dougal Robertson and 117 Days Adrift by Maurice and Maralyn Bailey. Nic Compton, Wooden Boat magazine, Nov/Dec 2023 (Read full review here)

An extraordinary story of experience, drama and skill. Tristan Gooley. Sept. 2023

One of the greatest sailing stories I have ever read (read full review) – John Quirk, Afloat magazine, June 2023, Australia.

Once started, hard to put down, will make a truly excellent Christmas gift for the sailor in the house. Highly recommended. John Macfarlane, Boating New Zealand magazine, November 2023. (Read full review)

Completely transfixed by this new book, the story of an almost inconceivable sea journey from Scotland to the South Seas by Nick Grainger and his then-wife Julie aboard a tiny ‘Shetland Model’, 50 years ago. The Aegre was built in Wick by Tom Edwardson of Unst, and decked in by Bob Macinnes of Scourie. A capsize off Tahiti ended an extraordinary voyage. But the Aegre saw them safely ashore in Samoa. Nick will be in Shetland for the Tall Ships Race and to launch the book at the Lerwick Library. I highly recommend it if, like me, you’ve been addicted to sea survival stories since childhood. Tom Morton, Lerwick, Shetland

The Voyage of The Aegre deserves to become a classic in seafaring literature as it has all the key ingredients – adventurous excitement, serious danger, exemplary planning and self-reliance, but most importantly a completely authentic, honest and heart-warmingly humble voice of a man who has seen and overcome much in his life but takes nothing for granted. Nick acknowledges his mistakes and limitations with clear-eyed frankness and also understands the huge debt he owes to Julie for her incredible strength of character, patience, and devotion in adversity. Nick’s frequent use of extracts from Julie’s diary makes for powerful reading. The Voyage of The Aegre is not only an account of a journey but also a moving tale of two young people growing up together, forging a relationship in extraordinary circumstances, and facing down unimaginably difficult challenges with inspirational courage. Matthew Sullivan, Librarian, Dinghy Cruising Association. October 2023. See full review here.

The Voyage of the Aegre, authored by Nicholas Grainger, is a true story of courage, curiosity, nature’s grace and fury, and a time so different from now. It makes one want to get off the grid, take a chance, grow in character and challenge the limits of one’s physical and mental stamina. Grainger has a deeply compelling voice as a writer, coming across through the page as a person of intelligence, innocence, a “can-do” positive attitude, and generosity towards others. I loved every moment of this read and truly could not put the book down. Hardly a sailor myself, I learned so much about this boat and the rigging, handling, ingenuity and imagination it takes to not only succeed in a venture but also to improvise and use all the gifts and resources one has at hand. This is a story that metaphorically has terrific resonance for today when we rarely wish to sacrifice comfort and the known world to explore our dreams – but oh my! There is so much inspiration in Grainger’s and Julie’s journey that I know I will personally be much more willing to take risks to explore my own limits. I am enthusiastically recommending this book to every person, sailor or not, that I know! Leigh, USA. August 2023

I have just finished reading The Voyage of the Aegre in Glasgow, Scotland.  A tremendous tale of sailing adventure and survival – surely, right up there with the best of tales of sailing adventure and survival.  After the passage of all the intervening years, the two young people on the Aegre hugely impress too.  Best wishes, Iain, 12 July 2023

This is a ripper of a sea story, I had trouble putting it down to eat. Nick Grainger has looked back with the filters of time and wisdom to revisit a key experience in his life and that of his young bride Julie. The telling of his childhood helps begin the story with a framing for why they would embark on such a strenuous and potentially dangerous adventure. The support and learning and sometimes good luck they encountered as they grew into young adulthood led them to finding the boat Aegre and a trip sailing across oceans. The final disappointment of the trip was a reminder that reality catches up to us all!
I am glad Nick has captured the story in a detailed yet easily readable way. The lessons he and Julie learned would do well for any of us as we manage our way through life
. Bill H, Canada 12 August 2023

I know nothing about sailing, but absolutely loved this book. I really enjoyed reading this book – it had me on the edge of my seat in parts, not wanting to put it down! I know nothing about sailing but felt like I was on the boat the whole time, sharing the ups and downs (no pun intended). Nick and Julie were so young but so brave and courageous. What a thing to do! Their personalities were also very interesting living together in such a small space – how Julie occasionally fell apart and they’d work it through, and Nick’s frustrations and how he’d problem solve. I hope there’s a sequel! All in all a great read. I’d recommend it – five stars. Nan H, Australia, 18 August 2o23

Hi Nick, I am Julie’s youngest sister Ann.  I well remember you living with us in London!  And your wedding to my sister. I was too young to be interested in what my sister was up to ! but obviously now wonder how my mum slept! Point of this message is to say i have just read your book cover to cover and it’s brilliantly written.   Well done. Ann.  9 July 2023

Hi, bought the Kindle version and read it in three days. Although the end of the voyage was somewhat guessable (you survived) the story of your capsize and recovery and the resourceful repairs and especially the navigation to safety was most gripping and I had to read the book to the end – got there after midnight…Best regards and thank you for publishing the story. Seppo,  Finland    

I bought the book with great expectations and was not disappointed.  I am both an English graduate, an author of numerous articles, most notably the Junk Rig Hall of Fame series for the Junk Rig Association, and a small boat voyager myself, so your tale resonated deeply with me. Graham C.

Nick, what a truly wonderful achievement your tale tells. You have awoken so many memories that had faded with age. My time as first mate on the SV Fri out of NZ into the Tasman Sea and many more. Thank you for sharing such a deeply personal story with all of us and doing so in what turned out to be a page-turner. Brian K, Long Island, NY

What a compelling read!  I have just finished it – feel completely exhausted – sooo much happened to you in such a short time! It must have been very painful to relive the whole experience – no wonder Julie was never getting on another boat! Beautifully written and such a lyrical approach with your little quotations! I really enjoyed it. Diana M, Derby, UK

Signed copies of the book, The Voyage of The Aegre – From Scotland to the South Seas in a Shetland Boat are available from this website here. It can also be purchased from Boat Books Australia, in the UK from Central Books, the Shetland Times Bookshop and other good bookshops, and in the rest of the world from Amazon.

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