Growing up in the Forties, Rick lived with an aunt and uncle but sustained himself on sailboats--a castoff duckboat, a less tippy sloop, and finally the costly blue sloop that came to signify competence and a certain solitary independence. His close-hauled memoir reviews those years of sudden, enforced intimacy with relatives unlike his seize-the-day parents, but his manner is so subdued, his writing so uninflected, that the narrative never catches hold. Orphaned at ten, he made a quick, unspoken truce with over-busy Aunt Flo, warm and pliant Uncle Bert, and manipulative older cousin Sara, but he preferred a nearby handyman or the aging salts down at the boatyard for company. There were too few household sharings, more immediate pleasures at school and the local newspaper office (Aunt Flo stewed, ""Sara has all the aces but you're taking in all the cards""), two recurring dream girls. . . and summers spent on Circe. Rick undergoes the traditional rites of passage--including a storm and two seductions on a single night--but even these potentially arresting incidents don't break water. Smoothly constructed and thoughtful, but ininvolving.