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John Vigor is a longtime newspaperman and a former South African sailing champion. In 1987, John and his family began their new life in America. He now lives in Washington State, where he sails on Puget Sound and continues to write. He is a regular contributor to GOOD OLD BOAT magazine.
A well-written and thoroughly enjoyable book, Small Boat to Freedom is no mere sailing story. The interweaving of South African politics, the history of the places visited, and the emotions of their departure add much depth to this tale. Sail Magazine Small Boat to Freedom is a heartfelt chronicle of escape and rebirth and will appeal to anyone who has ever been inspired to chuck it all and slip away on a high-seas adventure. An absorbing chronicle of how the Vigor family tests its resolve and skills in (a) serious ocean cruise to escape from their homeland, all the while remaining painfully aware of the not-insignificant fact that they have no jobs waiting (for) them when they reach their destination in America. Ocean Navigator Talk about dramatic exits. British writer Vigor and his family didn't leave South Africa for America just by buying plane tickets, but by boarding a 31-foot sloop and sailing across the Atlantic. This is the account of that improbable journey, and it's a compelling read, if rather belated. It was 1987, the old regime was crumbling, violence was rampant, and Vigor figured his family had lived through enough. It's that background of a dysfunctional nation, and the people trapped within it, that gives the book its unique texture. The work's simple honesty is beguiling. Vigor seems to have absorbed the rhythms of the sea in his pacing: mostly gentle, occasionally bracing and leaving readers exhilarated for the experience. Publishers Weekly