Cover image for Back under sail : recovering the spirit of adventure
Back under sail : recovering the spirit of adventure
Scherer, Migael.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Minneapolis : Milkweed Editions, 2003.
Physical Description:
xi, 203 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV810.92.S35 A3 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
GV810.92.S35 A3 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Having lived aboard a sailboat for several years, Migael Scherer had never before raced over water. So when an invitation came to join a six-person crew on a race, she said yes. Three years prior, Scherer's life had almost ended in a violent, near-fatal rape; the race becomes a personal voyage of recovery. She addresses the wonders and horrors, beauty and dangers of both the natural and "civilized" world. Throughout, she keeps an account of the race and its intricacies with the knowledge of a seasoned sailor and the freshness of a novice racer. Photographs and her story illuminate Scherer's successful struggle to recapture her love of life.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

The process of healing from a traumatic event is a long one, unique to each person. Scherer, rape victim and the author of Still Loved by the Sun 0 (1992), has lived aboard a sailboat with her husband for years, in Seattle and Alaska. Here she recounts her participation in a five-day sailing race in the waters around Juneau. The lone woman in a crew of six, she is put in a situation that will test both her skill as a sailor and her courage as a person. Unexpectedly, it also offers her the opportunity to test her recovery and stretch her spirit to where she can accept, and, ultimately, enjoy risk and adventure as she once did. Her descriptions of the process of rigging and sailing are clear and engaging as are her examinations of herself and her past. The crew successfully completes the race without winning it, but Scherer truly is a winner as she heals herself and experiences joy. --Danise Hoover Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Three years after Scherer was raped at knifepoint in a Seattle laundromat, she resolved to overcome lingering fears and tensions with her husband by participating in a 200-mile sailing race out of Juneau, Alaska. Scherer wasn't a stranger to the high seas. After learning the technical terms of sailing from an illustrated children's book, she helped her husband build a sailboat from scratch and then lived on it for four years. But racing and living with the four unfamiliar men who are her fellow crew members in extremely tight quarters was a new experience for Scherer, and her memoir spells out the epiphanies and pitfalls in great detail. The most memorable parts of her tale explore the dynamics of the group and often lead to flashbacks about other mishaps and adventures in the author's sailing career. Her descriptions of the team's surroundings can be nothing short of luminous-the oars of a rowboat "dripping liquid silver"; a pair of whales dancing rhythmically at the side of the boat-but Scherer's accounts of steering, keeping watch and following the sometimes-cryptic directions of fellow crew members may leave outsiders feeling lost at sea. As a story of hope and survival, though, hers is universal. She writes, "You use the wind to go forward, even when it's against you.... Pay attention, study the charts and currents, watch the weather. Reduce sail, seek shelter, make repairs-every crew has its limits. But keep going forward." Even a landlubber can't argue with this wisdom. Agent, Elizabeth Wales. (Oct.) Forecast: Scherer's first book, Still Loved by the Sun: A Rape Survivor's Journal, received a Pacific Northwestern Booksellers Association Award and a PEN/Albrand Citation. A regional favorite, the author could reach a wider audience with her tour, which will take her to Chicago; Minneapolis; New York; Washington, D.C.; Phoenix, Ariz.; and Albuquerque, N.Mex., in addition to West Coast cities. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved