Valerie Perez was primed for adventure. After completing her time as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Micronesia, she met the captain of the seagoing sailboat, Cosmic Muffin. The landlubber and the sailor gave in to their passions and struck out together on an extended voyage to Hawaii and, ultimately, to the captain’s home in California. In this delightful and compelling memoir, Valerie tells the story of falling in love with a man who eschews commitment, and spending months at sea enduring a relationship that runs as hot and cold as the Pacific currents.
What stirs the reader’s heart in this very forthright memoir is the author’s growth, specifically her ability to come to terms with the truth about this relationship…and her relationship to God.
Ultimately, Perez comes to understand that what really matters in life is self-respect, the ability to confront adversity, appreciating love and friendship in all their permutations, and an honest relationship with God.
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There is a myth among sailors and delivery captains that it takes twentyone days to sail from Hawaii to California. It is a pervasive belief,
perpetuated by those who brag of accomplishing this feat in less time
and believed by those who pay good money to have their boats delivered by
experienced captains. Then there are those who quietly make the trip and more
or less do it in twenty-one days, giving some credence to the myth.
Even more nebulous than the myth are the vague directions for making
the voyage—“go north to latitude 40, motor through the high pressure system
that sits up there this time of year, and once you reach the other side, have fun sailing downwind to San Francisco.”
It is all sailing bullshit. Sailors are born liars, but unlike other liars—
most notoriously, fishermen and lawyers—sailors get away with it because of
the inherent romance of sailing. Fishermen can almost get away with lying, but
fish, well, smell fishy.
At The Helm of the Muffin
The Last Voyage of the Cosmic Muffin
Reviewed by Jill Wing, Reporter for The Saratogian
September 6, 2006
At the helm of the Muffin
SARATOGA SRPINGS, NY - A sensational new writer visits the Higher Grounds coffee shop at the Saratoga Springs Public Library ay 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14, for a reception and book signing.
Valerie Perez, who grew up in Saratoga Springs, has penned a rollicking, rolling memoir that crests the wave of adventure during an unforgettable sail across the open Pacific. The captain is a seafarer who runs his ship like Ahab — a sometimes lovable, gentle, obstinate and stubborn “man-the-lifeboats” Ahab.
Her new memoir, The Last Voyage of the Cosmic Muffin, puts the reader at the helm of the 40-floot sailboat on an epic journey of discovery, madness, romance, sickness, hunger, loneliness and an awakening that has helped forge her path to the future.
Muffin is required reading for all women approaching the age of no return, and for men to float their dreams of adventure past their significant others, they just might take the bait.
When Perez turned 50, she decided to join the Peace Corps, taking a leave of absence as managing partner with Design Management Alliance in Bean Station, Tenn. She was sent to Micronesia, where she met Shepard Harris “Shep,” captain of the Cosmic Muffin. Harris was on the last leg of a round-trip sail from California to Australia.
The landlubber and seafarer found some common ground in their lives of adventure and Harris asked Perez to crew on the last leg. It was a two-person gig — Perez and Harris. The self-confessed clueless sailor was the crew.
The landlubber and the sailor gave in to their passions and struck out together on an extended voyage to Hawaii and, ultimately, to Shep’s home in Moss Landing, Calif.
In this engaging and compelling memoir, Valerie tells of falling in love with a man whose only real commitment is to himself. The two unlikely cabin mates spend months at sea, enduring a relationship that runs as hot and cold as the Pacific currents. Privacy was nil. There was no privy (head in boat-speak). After all, the Muffin was built for a man to sail.
Her writing is so vivid, the reader feels the dizzying agony of seasickness, the penetrating chill of wearing wet clothes braced against persistent wind and waves, the scratchy feel of crusty layers of salt on the skin, the loneliness of seeing a horizon that can’t be reached, the incessant stench of ocean water and its rich organic pit of writhing creatures, and of breathtaking moments of sunrise and joy, love and romance.
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