The lighter side of ocean voyaging

A tour of duty in Vietnam convinced Ray Jason that law school, upon return to the States, was definitely not for him. Instead he turned to juggling, taught himself the basics and set himself up on the streets of San Francisco with flaming torches and bowling balls. He eventually traveled around the world supporting himself as a juggler. This turned out to be good training for sailing the world in a small boat, a feat he managed — supporting himself as an entertainer and magazine writer — and that he continues to this day. Ray Jason’s fun-loving spirit is alive in the pages of his new book, Tales of a Sea Gypsy, a collection of stories about his foibles in ports and on the high seas, aboard his 29-foot Farallon sloop, Aventura.

Tales of a Sea Gypsy is narrated in that breezy manner that only Californians seem able to exude. (Many of the stories were originally published in the ubiquitous West Coast journal Latitude 38.) Jason endures hardship, much of which must have been frightening, with a ridiculous sense of humor. His book is fluffy — there isn’t much in the way of information for would-be or experienced sailors — but it’s a fun escape to the world’s off-track ports.

Paradise Cay Publications, Arcata, Calif.; 170 pages; $14.95.

By Ocean Navigator