OUTBOUND by William Storandt


Finding a Man, Sailing an Ocean
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A trim memoir of a man discovering his sexuality and a love of sailing in one, mostly serendipitous, turning.

By the time freelance writer Storandt decides to build a 33-foot cutter, the Clarity, he has decided upon the greater course of his life: the free expression of his homosexuality and a desire to spend as much of his earthly time aboard the boat exploring all the lands he can sail to. A graduate of Juilliard, grabbing part-time work here and there as was the manner in the late 1960s, Storandt moved with his girlfriend to northern Vermont to get a true taste of self-sufficiency and the rural pastoral, but was just as busy hiding his sexuality—yet increasingly drawn to it. It took him another decade to finally get it together to live as an openly gay man, and when he does, it comes as a gust of relief to the reader, for he had been fumbling around at the margins for so long. After the Clarity is built, with the usual financial ruination, he and his partner Brian—by now in a three-year relationship—ship out for a yearlong cruise down to the Lesser Antilles. Braided into this mix of coming-out and sailing stories is his and Brian's current adventure: sailing across the Atlantic to Brian’s native Scotland (with another chum, Bob). Storandt's writing has a comfortable ease to it, and plenty of self-deprecation for all his fussy worrying—how he can “savor and telegraphy every misery”—which works well for the easy passage over, but keeps the wicked gales they encounter heading north from the Azores to Scotland from becoming white-knuckle reading. And though he is strongest in expressing his joy of life with Brian, he can also draw a nifty descriptive passage on the water- and landscapes they pass through on their journey.

Storandt paints a beckoning picture for the life he has chosen and now lives so well. (13 b&w photographs, 2 maps, 1 line drawing)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-299-17460-3
Page count: 178pp
Publisher: Univ. of Wisconsin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2001