Apropos of all our recent postings on Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, a reader sent me this wonderful story from the San Francisco Chronicle about Patrick O’Brian, on whose Aubrey-Maturin novels the film was based:
The vivid, seafaring novels of Patrick O’Brian have been getting lots of attention since the release of the big-budget movie “Master and Commander.” And they were doing all right without the movie: According to O’Brian’s editor at Norton, Starling Lawrence, even before the movie came
out O’Brian’s books sold 4 million copies. “We’re not exactly under a rock,” he says.
But as popular as the tales of Lucky Jack Aubrey and his notoriously unseaworthy friend and shipboard physician Stephen Maturin are among readers, they are especially revered by real wind-and-mast sailors. To them, O’Brian speaks the secret code of the sheeted main, the furled jib and the main topgallant staysail.
“I’ve sailed all my life,” says Bay Area venture capitalist Tom Perkins, speaking by phone from his vacation home in England, “and O’Brian never
made a mistake about the wind or the sails.”
Which is why it was such a surprise that when Perkins took O’Brian on an extended sailing trip, he had a startling revelation. O’Brian didn’t have a clue about how a sailboat worked.
“That was the amazing thing,” Perkins says today, still a little incredulous. “He didn’t know anything about sailing.”…
Read the whole thing here.