Book details

Publication date: June 2011
Features: 4 maps, 48 B&W photographs, suggested reading list, index
Series: Wayfarer
Keywords: Adventure Travel;Memoir;Sailing
Subject(s): BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Adventurers & Explorers, Adventure Travel / Memoir / Sailing, SPORTS & RECREATION / Sailing, Sailing, Adventure Travel;Memoir;Sailing, Travel, Biography, Sports & Recreation
Publisher(s): The University of Alberta Press

Nicholas Coghlan. Nicholas Coghlan and his wife, Jenny, sailed around the world on their first boat, Tarka the Otter between 1985 and 1989. On his return he joined the Canadian Foreign Service and has written books about two of his postings: The Saddest Country: On Assignment in Colombia and Far in the Waste Sudan: On Assignment in Africa. Following their adventure, Coghlan accepted a two-year posting as Deputy High Commissioner in Pakistan. Now, he and his wife are living aboard Bosun Bird somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.

"After tough assignments as a Canadian diplomat, Nicholas Coghlan and his wife Jenny decided to sail from Capetown, South African to Tierra del Fuego, South America as they reflect on the great voyages of Magellan, Cook, and Darwin." Prairie Books Now, Summer 2011

"This engaging travel memoir describes Coghlan and his wife's first trip to Patagonia in 1978, as well as their second voyage 25 years later in which they sailed from Cape Town to the Beagle Channel and the Strait of Magellan, skirting Tierra del Fuego to Puerto Montt. Along the way, he relates the experiences of past adventurers including Bruce Chatwin, James Cook, Charles Darwin, Ferdinand Magellan, Allen Gardiner, and Joshua Slocum." Reference and Research Book News

"For anyone considering venturing to this part of the world, or simply those that love armchair adventuring, this is a 'must-read.' Not only does Nick Coghlan paint a vivid picture of the tenacity and slight insanity required to attempt winter cruising in this part of the world, he also delves into the rich maritime history that the likes of Chatwin, Cook, Darwin and Magellan left behind. Nick and his wife Jenny, experienced cruisers with a circumnavigation under their belts some 20 years previously, sail from Cape Town to the Beagle Channel and the Strait of Magellan, skirting Tierra del Fuego (Fireland). Progress is slow in their 27 foot sailboat, and their days are dictated by constant weather concerns, tricky navigation and the harsh yet beautiful terrain surrounding them. Both enjoy exploring and hiking ashore, giving the reader a full picture of just what it's really like to adventure in Patagonia." Sue,

"[Nick Coghlan] combined the two qualities that make "Winter in Fireland" a gripping read - an irrepressible spirit of adventure which took him into the most daunting situations, and an ability to describe his experiences in lucid prose. This book, following on his previous publications about Colombia and Sudan, places him solidly in the company of the best travel writers - those hardy souls who have explored the world's nether regions and lived to tell the tale." Paul Durand, Just Ottawa. [Full review @]

"This rugged region at South America's southern tip has lured hardy adventurers and sailors for centuries. Don't miss reading this tale of one couple's voyage in Bosun Bird, their Vancouver 27. Packed with carefully documented history and as much about adventures by land as by sea, it's a volume you'll want to keep permanently on your bookshelf." Lynda Morris Childress, Cruising World

"Coghlan will describe the day's sail, mentioning the landmarks, telling what happened to previous explorers, then talk about the interesting people who make their living on these forbidding waters at the bottom of the world." Chas. Hague, Good Old Boat Magazine.

"This book, following on his previous publications about Colombia and Sudan, places him solidly in the company of the best travel writers -- those hardy souls who have explored the world's nether regions and lived to tell the tale. [In Capetown, South Africa, Nick and his wife Jenny] conceived of the ultimate sailing adventure; around the tip of South America, through the Beagle Channel and the Strait of Magellan, then into the Pacific. This region, the 'Roaring Forties', is beset by ferocious storms, numbing cold and unpredictable currents: the most difficult sailing area in the world. .... He talks of 8-metre waves and 50-knot winds, sudden squalls and always the freezing, wet cold. This is not hospitable territory.... On March 1, after re-supplying and re-fitting, they depart Puerto Montt and the Chilean mainland, heading out into the Pacific.... A perfect ending to a gripping adventure, written by a colleague who has mastered both sail and pen." Paul Durand, former Canadian Ambassador to Chile (and to Costa Rica and the Organisation of American States) and former Director General for Latin America at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa, bout de papier, January 2012

"Leaving in 2005, they crossed the South Atlantic via Namibia and lonely St Helena, making a spectacular landfall at Rio de Janeiro. In ever heavier weather they then battled south down the coast of Patagonia through the Roaring Forties, to Latitude 55 South. They wintered over at tiny Puerto Williams, Chile: the southernmost permanent settlement in the world, on the shores of the glacier-lined Beagle Channel and only a few miles from Cape Horn. Setting off north again through the lonely Chilean Channels towards warmer climes, with sea-ice still choking many bays, they sat out winds of up to 90 knots and saw scarcely a soul in four months.", January 21, 2012

"Winter in Fireland: A Patagonian Sailing Adventure recounts the sailing journey of author Nicholas Coghlan and his wife Jenny aboard their 27-foot sailboat, Bosun Bird, from Cape Town through the winter waters of the Beagle Channel and the Strait of Magellan, dancing along edges of Tierra del Fuego (Fireland). Their adventure involved braving stormy waters, navigating channels and inlets, and encountering the whims and wonders of other cultures. Reflections on a lifelong love of sailing and incredible nautical adventures past and present fill this treasury for armchair travelers and sailing enthusiasts alike." Midwest Book Review, The Nautical Shelf, January 2012

"In this adventure our captain takes his boat, and then his reader, from acquisition through renaming and refitting to the completion of a dream... In addition to relating stories about many of the people met along the way, the author includes or references considerable material explaining reasons for most of the names and places also encountered.. I definitely finished this book with the understanding that cruising is considerably more of a tension filled adrenaline sport than common usage of the term would otherwise suggest. And that's surprising as everything untoward which happens in this journey is quite ably handled by the author and his wife. I've read this book cover to cover, including the appetizing selected bibliography and some of the quite serviceable index. I'd read it again, and I'd urge you to read it too." Garth Miles, Currents Magazine, March 2012

"Winter in Fireland chronicles Nicholas and Jenny Coghlan's journey from Cape Town, South Africa, to Tierra del Fuego or 'Fireland.' The Coghlans first traveled to Patagonia in 1978 while teaching in Buenos Aires. From 1985 to 1989 they circumnavigated on their boat, Tarka the Otter, after which Nicholas joined the Canadian Foreign Service, and served at various postings around the world. In Winter in Fireland Nicholas and Jenny revisit Patagonia, this time aboard their cutter-rigged Vancouver 27, Bosun Bird. Coghlan weaves their personal journey with the history of the region. A talented writer, Coghlan's book follows in the wake of Bruce Chatwin, James Cook, Charles Darwin, Joshua Slocum and others who were captivated by Fireland's allure and primal beauty." Ocean Navigator, May-June 2012

"Looking for a good cruising adventure to read during the winter months? Try Nicholas Coghlan's Winter In Fireland on for size. Nicholas & his wife Jenny revisit Chile & Patagonia aboard Bosun Bird, their 27 foot yacht. Their adventure takes us through their purchase & fit out in Cape Town, the coast of Argentina through the stormy waters of Tierra del Fuego & up the coast of Chile. It is a tale of their journey, filled with trials & tribulations, as well as reflections on the journeys of past explorers & adventures, told with humour & insight. Interspersed with photos this book is perfect for the armchair sailor and would be explorers." Cruise News, May 2012

"[Winter in Fireland] is a story by adventurers for adventurers. For someone planning their own trip south, this book would be useful as both a beginning resource and for its annotated bibliography that lists several books of sailing around South America. For others it will be an escape into worldly travel urges likely to inspire fantasies of visiting Patagonia for ourselves. Coghlan writes with the crisp syntax of a Captain's log and peppers his account with honesty and dry English humour." Marina Parapini, Pacific Rim Review of Books, Vol. 8, No. 2

"It is informative, enjoyable and interesting, even if you are not a sailor. The narrative gives a fascinating insight into the motivation, preparation, challenges, hazards, setbacks, uncertainties, and to a large extent skills to improvise when large or small and unexpected calamities materialize." Winesworld Magazine, March 25, 2013 [Full article at]

ISBNs: 9780888645470 978-0-88864-547-0 Title: winter in fireland