Gregg A. Granger, Sailing Faith: The Long Way Home (
: Gregg Granger, 2010), 247 pages plus a 20 page insert of color prints. Middleville, MI
There are men who, during a mid-life crisis, strike out for the territories, leaving their family behind. Gregg Granger is not such a man. He has his crisis and he literally sails off into the sunset, but he takes his family with him. This book is Gregg’s story of sailing a fifty-four foot sailboat (named Faith) around the world. For four years, Gregg along with his wife (Lorrie), two teenage daughters (Amanda and Emily), and a younger son (Greggii) live aboard the boat. Gregg’s children are home schooled as they sail from Hampton, Virginia, through the Caribbean to the Panama Canal, then across the Pacific, stopping at the Galapagos Islands, then to the South Seas and on to Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Oman and Yemen, through the Red Sea and Suez Canal, through the Mediterranean and then back across the Atlantic. This was a wonderful adventure for a family whose previous experience at sailing was a Hobie Cat on an inland lake. In telling the story, we learn of the tension the family sometimes faced living in tight quarters, but more importantly we get to see the love they shared for one another and for the people they met along the way.
Once they announced their intentions, everyone kept warning Gregg about the dangers. “You’re going to a lot of places where they don’t value human life like we do,” he was told. (I suppose I was even guilty of this misconception when I met Gregg and looked at the map on the cover and pointed out that his journey took him through two of the most pirated areas of the world). This misconception becomes the family’s mantra as he finds people most everywhere value life (one of the places he finds this not to be true is in
with the way they treat the Palestinians). Interestingly, the two places the Grangers enjoyed the most are areas we, in the Israel United States, are often warned about: Indonesia and . Along the way, the Grangers share their Christian faith, but also learn to respect the faith and tradition of others. Another area that the Granger’s are surprised is the quality of medical care they discover while on their trip, a discovery that allows Granger the opportunity to take a swipe at the expensive care we have here in the Yemen . United States
Sailing Faith is primarily a travelogue. I would have liked to have read a bit more about life on the boat, the smells of the sea, the clanging of the hardware, descriptions of sunrises and sunsets, how they navigated, what’s it’s like to step on land after a month on the water. Instead, journeys across vast amounts of water are covered in a few pages, highlighting the catching of a tuna or the struggle to keep equipment working. Granger focuses more on their time in port and with those with whom they become friends (other families on living on sailboats as well as those who are native of the lands in which they explore). The family often spends extended time on shore and in
they spend nearly a year as the boat is taken out of the water and rebuilt. Malaysia
I enjoyed reading this book. The experiences of the Grangers give me hope for the world. Unfortunately, it’s privately printed and, as far as I know, is only available at their website. The website also contains some wonderful photos of the family’s journey. I met Gregg at the Festival of Faith and Writing I attended a few weeks ago.