Editor Seybold (ed., Seasons of the Angler, 1982) floats an armada of big-name authors in this classy collection of 27 original short stories, essays, and poems about (mostly) small boats. Among the literary lights here are Peter Matthiessen, who contributes a rich, entertaining account of his near-fatal attempt as a young man to sail a crudely made codfish smack around the coast of Nova Scotia; and Annie Dillard, who limns a magical idyll about a ship in a bottle whose crew comes to life. Also represented are E. Annie Proulx, with ""Collector,"" a quirky, humorous tale of a collector driven by a fanatical pursuit of canoes of a single 19th-century maker; John Hersey (whose 1967 Under the Eye of the Storm remains one of the finest of modern sailing novels), with fascinating character studies of a lobster-boat's crew, and Robert Silverberg, whose science-fiction entry portrays a ship capturing icebergs in the year 2133, when the greenhouse effect has turned most of North America into an arid desert. In ""Bull Gator,"" Rip Torn tells of his childhood fishing trips with his grandfather in East Texas, and of Torn's building, years later, a cypress-heart pirogue with an older man who still recalled how these Gulf swamp boats were made. The strongest story here, however, ""Worse Things Happen at Sea,"" belongs to Robert F. Jones. His account of a Navy veteran's tour of Japan in 1951 with his Japanese mistress--visiting such sights as Ground Zero at Hiroshima, where all the ground sand is fused to glass and the Japanese have installed small benches for contemplation--is hair-raisingly intense. Engaging and fresh, of appeal to boat lovers and landlubbers alike.