The Boat Who Wouldn’t Float

It seemed like a good idea. Tired of everyday life ashore, Farley Mowat would find a sturdy boat in Newfoundland and roam the salt sea over, free as a bird. What he found was the worst boat in the world, and she nearly drove him mad. The Happy Adventure, despite all that Farley and his Newfoundland helpers could do, leaked like a sieve. Her engine only worked when she felt like it. Typically, on her maiden voyage, with the engine stuck in reverse, she backed out of the harbour under full sail. And she sank, regularly.

How Farley and a varied crew, including the intrepid lady who married him, coaxed the boat from Newfoundland to Lake Ontario is a marvellous story. The encounters with sharks, rum-runners, rum and a host of unforgettable characters on land and sea make this a very funny book for armchair sailors and landlubbers alike.

Farley Mowat (1921–2014) was a Canadian writer, environmentalist, and activist. After serving in the military and exploring as a field technician in remote areas of Canada, Mowat published his first book, People of the Deer, in 1952. Over the next half-century he published dozens of titles, and is best known for Never Cry Wolf , an account of his adventures studying Arctic wolves in northern Manitoba. Over his long career, Mowat received the Mark Twain Award, the Governor General’s Award for Juvenile Fiction, and the first and only Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Outdoor Book Award.