So Where Do You Go At Night?

By Patrick Hill

Those of us who recall the world of sailing in the 1970s will remember magazine stories of voyages by intrepid souls to the South Pacific and beyond. This was the stuff dreams were made of―at least for us working stiffs who hoped one day to go to sea. The boats were sometimes home-built or at least home finished, in everything from fiberglass and wood to concrete. Most of these trips worked out just fine and the sailors returned to the drudgery of the working world with a least one dream fulfilled. One such family was Patrick Hill's, who set off in a Fraser 42 for a voyage that would take them from Vancouver to Tahiti, Bora Bora and home again, all in just over 14 months. Hill has finally published a book on their trip and it captures the time and place perfectly.

So Where Do You Go At Night? begins with their experiences on the BC coast and quickly moves to their choice of boat and its almost improbable construction by the family in their front yard over the span of three years. The centre-cockpit boat was roomy enough for the family of four with two sleeping cabins and the main saloon. Their daughter Erica came up with the name for the boat, Sky One Hundred.

They set off from Vancouver in July 1977 and battled wind and sea to San Francisco, then continued down the coast past Puerto Vallarta and over to the islands of Marquesas and Tahiti. After five months in this paradise, they circled west through the islands around Bora Bora and beat their way through nasty northeast winds to Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Hill’s description of these tropical seas really does conjure visions of warmth and palm trees. The story moves all too quickly and by the end I wished for another 100 pages. It’s a very good read for all of us dreamers, doers and doners―and may just rekindle the urge to look at boats and dream again of those far-off places and times.

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