Sailing Home: A Journey Through Time, Place and Memory


339 pages
Contains Maps
ISBN 0-00-200007-5
DDC 917.11'1





Reviewed by Ted Thring

Ted Thring is a book reviewer for the Queen’s University radio


The author, who was born and raised on the West Coast, returned there at
age 58 after a career in the east as an award-winning writer and
lecturer. To rediscover his youth and himself, Geddes resolved to
undertake a solo voyage up the Inside Passage, which lies between
Vancouver Island and the mainland. To do this, he acquired a wooden
sloop named Groais. Built in Bristol, England, the boat was a sturdy,
seaworthy vessel, but it lacked radar and an autohelm—two essential
pieces of equipment for a voyage in those waters.

Geddes was ill-prepared to make such a trip, lacking both sailing and
navigation experience. Nevertheless, the author, undaunted, sailed as
far north as Ocean Falls and back. During the trip, the reverse gear on
the engine malfunctioned, as did the VHF radio and the electrical

Sailing Home is a rambling account of a rambling voyage. Interspersed
throughout the details of the trip are Geddes’s recollections of his
youth (when he worked on his father’s fishing boat) and of an uncle
who operated a boat livery on Howe Sound. There are also digressions
into local history and the views of various authors. The descriptions of
his many ports of call and the people and boaters he encountered are
well written, though often exhaustive.


Geddes, Gary., “Sailing Home: A Journey Through Time, Place and Memory,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed February 21, 2024,