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On October 22, 1921, the American fishing schooner Elsie, just arrived from Gloucester, Massachusetts, lined up in Halifax Harbour beside a new, untested schooner from Lunenburg, ready to race over a 40-mile ocean course. The Elsie's skipper had beaten a Canadian boat decisively the previous year to win the first International Fishermen's Cup race. The new challenger was the Bluenose, set to begin a series of heated and often acrimonious races over the following two decades that left her bruised but unbowed, turning her into an icon whose image still shines on the Canadian dime more than eighty years later.
Exhaustively researched from archives in both the US and Canada, A Race for Real Sailors brings the ships and the men who sailed them to life with an even-handedness never before attempted. The salt spray practically blows off the page as Keith McLaren's arresting style captures the excitement, incidents, and human drama of each race and the almost living personalities of the schooners that contested them. The stirring and poignant tale is illustrated with 51 contemporary photographs and 5 maps rounded out by a glossary of sailing terms and an appendix of the ever-changing race rules. This is a story that will keep even confirmed land lubbers pegged to their seats, a tale of iron men and wooden ships whose time will never come again.