Fast Handling Techniques
by Frank Bethwaite DFC OAM
published by Bloomsbury Publishing
RRP $39.99 (160pp; 260mm x 195mm)
It is recorded in the Foreword that Frank Bethwaite passed away two weeks after the completion of this book, his third. His contribution to sailing in Australia over 50 years or so is crowned by his analysis, in scientific ways, of the sport he loved so much. Bethwaite’s first two books, High Performance Sailing and Higher Performance Sailing, by his own admission, were aimed at skilful setting up of boats to get the best performance out of them and understanding the forces at work in sailing.
In his final book, Bethwaite analyses the actions required of a sailor to get the best out of a boat, in other words, handling. Bethwaite held the view that significant differences between the ways in which sailors performed were not due to innate or naturally endowed skills. And so he pulls apart, in a very detailed way, the factors that enable some sailors to sail much faster than others.
Bethwaite’s involvement in the highest levels of sailing in Australia suggests we listen to him.
Win and Clyde
by Janet Fenton
published by Forty Degrees South Publishing
RRP $39.95 (318pp; 235mm x 155mm)
Janet Fenton is a product of Tasmania’s rugged and remote south-west and is the niece of Win and Clyde Clayton, the subjects of this book. Janet’s father, himself the subject of a biography, King of the Wilderness: the Life of Deny King by Christobel Mattingley AM, was Win’s brother and plays a large supporting role in this book.
At first glance, the list of characters associated with Win and Clyde might simply lead you to assume that this was more an exercise in genealogy than a subject for a book. But first appearances can be deceiving. While this is the first time Win and Clyde has come to Afloat, it is a volume in its third print and this no doubt represents a readership that has been won over by the prospect of exploring the lives of Australians living in one of the most remote parts of the country. The maps included at the start of the book attest to this and show Port Davey and Bathurst Harbour, the sites for much of the book, in their splendid isolation.
So, Win and Clyde: Side by side in Tasmania’s far South West is a labour of love for the author, but also a story of pioneering, which surprisingly comes to us from the first half (mostly) of the twentieth century. Janet Fenton’s construction of the book takes us through Win and Clyde’s early years as youthful members of their own families and she paints lives of hardship and tough love. Growing up on opposite sides of Tasmania’s deep South, Clyde in and around Dover on the East side and Win, first in the Huon Valley not far from Dover, but later at Melaleuca in the upper reaches of Bathurst Harbour.
Perhaps because the snatches of memory from each of Win and Clyde were of distant times, the harsh cold and rugged life do not seem harsh or rugged enough in the retelling. But Fenton’s narrative is colourful and realistic when she deals with the hardships both faced: Win, as the only young woman in the vicinity of her father’s tin mine; and, Clyde as the growing mariner and fisherman. The countryside is ever present in their stories and Fenton enables us to walk in the shoes of her main characters.
Win and Clyde’s meeting, falling in love and marriage are sensitively told and the author’s own observations bring the book through to its conclusions. Win and Clyde is a book about battles against land and sea and about two latter day pioneers who are celebrated in Tasmania’s South West.