Described by many as a cross between a biography and a rollicking good adventure story, the book starts with the author stuck high up in the rigging of the HM Bark Endeavour during a storm, in the wee hours of the morning, somewhere in the North Pacific Ocean off the coast of Canada. This was very early in a voyage between Vancouver and New Zealand in 1999, which was the first of several international voyages undertaken by the author.
The remainder of the 300-page book is full of funny stories and anecdotes and takes the reader on board square-rig sailing ships of a bygone era to experience an old-time sailor’s day-to-day life. It also encompasses several appropriate historical references. In many instances on the Endeavour voyages, the ship was sailing in either Captain Cook’s or Christopher Columbus’ wake, and visited many places where their original ships had been hundreds of years ago, not always with favourable results from the indigenous people’s viewpoint. It was interesting to see how the descendants of these peoples received the modern-day Endeavour replica and her crew.
In addition to the story, it includes a number of coloured illustrations, maps, sail plans, a glossary of terms and a bibliography.
Publisher and supplier of Wind in My Wings, Albatross Press was formed in 2008 to progress the production of the work. Editing, typesetting and graphics work was sub-contracted out to turn the manuscript into the finished book. Printing and binding was carried out in Hong Kong by others on behalf of Albatross Press.
|PO Box 104|
|South Perth, WA 6151|
|+61(0)8 9367 7180|
|0417 175 329|
Fran was born and grew up on the banks of the River Clyde in Scotland and has been “messing about in boats” and interested in maritime matters for most of her life. She emigrated to Australia in 1966 as a “ten pound pom”. Her varied career culminated in her becoming a contracts engineer in the oil and gas industry following the completion of a Bachelor’s degree at Perth’s Edith Cowan University.
In addition to Wind in My Wings, Fran has written and published many articles in various sailing and other magazines, and is regularly invited to be a guest speaker at Rotary, Probus and other club meetings. She was recently invited to join the clipper ship Star Flyer as guest lecturer for a voyage from the Caribbean to Portugal.
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A lot of men, when they were little boys, dreamed of running away to sea and living a life of adventure. Fran Taylor, when she was a little girl growing up in the west of Scotland, dreamed the same thing – only she did it.
Wind in My Wings is the story of a truly adventurous woman who has sailed all the oceans of the earth, mainly in “tall ships”. Fran’s life both below decks and above in the replica of Captain Cook’s Endeavour and also in WA’s own three-master, Leeuwin II, was often arduous, usually uncomfortable and, on occasions, downright dangerous.
Yet Fran’s indomitable spirit shines through every page of this fascinating, fast-paced and riveting true-life account of life at sea beneath the billowing sails and creaking masts of the old-fashioned sailing ships. Wind in My Wings is a must-read for any woman or man with adventure in their blood and a love of the sea.
Novelist and Scriptwriter
Ghostwriter, Mentor and Manuscript Assessor
Fran Taylor has done what generations of boys dreamed of and never achieved: she ran away to sea on square-riggers. And it was all a lot harder to achieve than in the days when you only needed to hang around a waterfront bar to get knocked on the head and shanghaied aboard an outward bounder. And far harder still for a woman.
Fran’s book, Wind in My Wings, tells the fascinating story of her career in sail, from her first trip on Leeuwin to a trans-Pacific voyage in Endeavour.
This is not one of those books with endless descriptions of parbuckling the futtocks, and extracts from the ships’ logs. This is a story about the fun – and occasional panic – and companionship on the voyages, with plenty of intriguing anecdotes. (One that stays in the memory is about the day when Endeavour opened fire on a nuclear submarine with her cannons). And it was written by a woman passionate enough about it to resign from her job, sell her house and reduce her possessions to a couple of bagfuls to achieve it.
A great read. Call up email@example.com, or 0417 175 329 to organize yourself a copy (it would make a top Christmas present for someone you know).
West Coast Boating Magazine
October 2009 Issue
Wind in My Wings has all the punch of a classic adventure story – pirates, US submarines, exotic locations and rollicking good fun.
The book follows Fran Taylor’s 20 years of crewing on the majestic tall ships from WA’s Leeuwin II to the HM Bark Endeavour and the Europa.
Readers are swept along with Fran’s boisterous voice that jumps from the pages to her journeys across the Panama Canal, watching for pirates, and taking part in the Millennium Race across the North Atlantic in 2000.
For a middle-aged woman who “ran away to sea”, Fran’s tale weaves a beautiful story of one woman’s dream to follow her passion and never give up. Wind in My Wings is an inspirational read for people of all ages who are looking for a real-life ocean adventure.
March 2009 Issue
It’s only a matter of time before it becomes the next best-seller. It’s absolutely fantastic.
Joy Nason, TAFE Teacher, NSW
Well done on a terrific book. It made me laugh and it made me cry. I had tears rolling down my face at the end.
Patricia Dunkerley, WA Tourism Volunteer
I’m still laughing at the “babushka” incident. It’s a great read.
Heather Nicholls, Lawyer and Shipmate
Loving your book Fran, but I can only read a couple of chapters at a time as I get too choked up with emotion, and have to put it down until I get my composure back.
Harry Berryman, Ex-Endeavour Guide
I couldn’t put it down, and read it all in one night – it’s brilliant.
Caroline McDonough, Kevwest Builders
Congratulations – it’s inspirational. You must get it into the education system to motivate young people. I would also like to invite you to my next classroom to be a guest speaker in 2009 to encourage others to write and seek out their own adventures.
Debbie Gibson, WA School Teacher
The book is great – it’s neat how you focused on you and your interaction with the ship – it was brilliant. You write well.
Roger and Ainsley Reader, Shipmates (NSW)
I really like the way you simultaneously entertain/educate your readers, and I can “hear” you saying every word written.
Karen Kaillis, WA Tourism Volunteer
It’s very easy to read, and ticks along nicely. You must let me put a copy in the ship’s library to inspire and motivate our young people.
Glennis Nielson, Watch Officer, “Spirit of New Zealand”
Congratulations on such an entertaining, and quite often serious, book – now waiting in anticipation for the second book to be on the shelves.
Bob and Marie Agrifoglio, Texas, USA
A fascinating insight into the modern day voyage adventures of the replica tall-ship HM Bark Endeavour and the comradeship such voyages of discovery create. A well-written page turner you’ll probably want to keep reading.
Jason Aymes, England
“It is not often that one can read reflections and experiences from the “lower deck” of a modern sailing vessel, but here is one.”
Fran Taylor captures the essence of life aboard several different twentieth century sailing vessels from different countries. Her reflections of life on board the replica of James Cook’s Endeavour when sailing as a seaman crew member gives us an insight into a world that only 1,500 landlubbers worldwide have had the luck to experience. It is not a “boffin’s” narrative but more of a walk through many years of Fran’s experiences at sea as described by a layperson.
Captain Chris Blake, OBE
Master, Endeavour - February 1993 to April 2005.
In the romantic and challenging world that is sail training and the operation of great, wind-driven “Tall ships” on the world’s oceans, as diverse a collection of personalities may be found as can be imagined. They are all drawn to the sea, and the very physical business of crewing a sailing vessel and its thousands of square feet of canvas, for very many reasons. Collectively they are a fraternity – and equally, a sorority – of adventurous souls who keep alive the traditions and skills of a vanished age, and in doing so often go on voyages of self-discovery. Rarely are they particularly literate about their experiences, but Australian Fran Taylor is someone who has been to sea as a blue-water square rig crewman, and can write feelingly and well about it.
In her book, Taylor relates not only the day-to-day events in the seagoing life of a diminutive but lion-hearted woman who will not say “No” to the challenges in her life, but also the deeper thoughts and feelings that occur to her as she joins other men and women in the precarious business of crewing a square-rigger across half the world. In particular, her book deals with the dramatic voyage of the Australian replica of HM Bark Endeavour from England to Australia in 2004-2005. Taylor knows and loves Endeavour, and as the ship wends its way homeward after three years of wandering to a more sedate existence at a Sydney museum dock, one can feel Taylor’s empathy for the ship, and a sense that her sailor’s heart beats along with the heart of the vessel itself. Others have written in more erudite style about the sea: but few have written with such direct honesty and engaging freshness as does Fran Taylor. For everyone who has gone to sea, or anyone who merely dreams of it from the safety of an armchair, sailing along with Taylor on her remembered voyages and experiences is a delightful experience in the mind and heart of a very brave and passionate woman of the sea.
Captain (N) Victor JH Suthren, CD MA
Honourary Captain to the Chief of the Maritime Staff
Canadian Navy Reserve
Former Director General
Canadian War Museum, Ottawa
Author, Edward Mainwaring series of naval adventures
Voyage Crew, HM Bark Endeavour October-November 1999