Alone Together

Sailing Solo to Hawaii and Beyond
Narrated by: Christian Williams
Length: 11 hrs
4.6 out of 5 stars (571 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

What happens when a man of today's overconnected world sets off alone across the Pacific at the age of 71? Christian Williams, a veteran sailor and writer, planned a 6,000-mile voyage as a test of his own seamanship and endurance, and to fulfill a lifelong goal. But he found his focus quickly turning from the surrounding sea to all of us. Is anyone the same person when no one else is there? Do we dare to find out? In a new world of soaring seabirds, violent storms, and majestic emptiness, Williams discovered answers to questions he had never asked about who we are, why we sail, and the universal fear of being alone.

Alone Together is a complete technical course in offshore sailing technique and yacht preparation, and a philosophical inquiry into what it takes to be truly alive in the 21st century.

©2016 Christian Williams (P)2016 Christian Williams

What listeners say about Alone Together

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Best for the arm chair adventurer, or a sailor or philosopher

This is a great book, especially this audio version. I had tried to read the paper back version and had a hard time following the author. Unlike any book I have ever read or listen to before the author navigates his story, his stories through confusing seas. The book is really three stories in one. One part, a story of being seduced by the sails, boats, wind and like minded sailors. Another part about what it takes to sail across a ocean. The daily chores, navigation, sail changes and mid ocean repairs. And the third part of searching the soul for answers to questions that only come to people who spend weeks....truly alone.

What I found hard to read was memorizing to listen to. I want to follow is wake, I want to sail to distance shores myself. I crave the challenge that started in me as a boy from the national geographic story following the DOVE around the world. I too want to let time alone tease out questions for deep inside me.

Listening to the author read his own book was delightful, insightful and made smile at the world. The book was so memorizing that I pulled over in a highway road side to listen to the last half hour.

19 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Gutsy Adventure

The author displays a courage and spirit that must be admired. He is a talented writer and - after a somewhat monotonous beginning - the adventure will grab you and not let you go. It is a masterful teaching tool, that schools you effortlessly in the art of sailing, and the author does so like your favorite professor from college. Well worth the outlay and time commitment. As an aside, I had hoped he would have decided to continue his solo journey, taking us with him through the South Pacific.

7 people found this helpful

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Excellent expansion of the YouTube video.

Ever watch a movie and think, "I want more!", then track down the book and find it full of rich details that bring additional depth and texture to the story?

Well, that is exactly what happens in "Alone Together". I watched Christian Williams' video twice, I loved it so. I may just listen to the book again as well. Wonder what type of auto-helm equipment he used? He not only tells you, he tells the surprising story of the actual purchase. The book is full of wonderful stories and the details never become tedious.

I did rate the performance down a bit. But only because I have heard the author narrate his videos so masterfully. For whatever reason, I found his narration a bit slow and stilted at times. As much as I enjoy the tones of Mr. Williams' voice, as happy as I was to find he narrated his own book, I was slightly disappointed by those two small deficiencies. Perhaps I'm over-sensitive, having suffered through too many Scott Brick narrations to tolerate a performance even slightly resembling the almost unlistenable experience I endured with the "Coyote" sci-fi series.

If you enjoy sailing, have ever considered cruising or single-handing or solo sailing to Hawaii, this book is for you. Mr Williams is a great story teller!

2 people found this helpful

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Much more than just a sailing story

Sailing enthusiasts will enjoy this book, but so will all those interested in a reflective journey into the nature of self, and the importance of the interrelation between ourselves and the many people whose influence in our lives makes us who and what we are. This book will all those who are learning to come to terms with middle or old age. It reveals both the limitations and the depth of personality wisdom and equilibrium that come with the advancing of the years and a life well lived.

2 people found this helpful

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An excellent listen

It felt like I was right there with him. Even the most trivial task on the boat was an enjoyable listen. He has a way with words that make his experience seem wholesome and relatable. I highly recommend this audiobook for anyone who enjoys sailing and finding oneself in solitude.

2 people found this helpful

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Zen and the Art of Long Distance Sailing

Any additional comments?

If you've read Robert Pirsig's 1974 classic Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, you'll know that the book has, by the author's own admission, little to do with zen or art or even motorcycle maintenance. In similar fashion, to take Alone Together at face value, as a how-to guide for sailing to Hawaii, is to miss the point entirely. This is just as much a book of personal philosophy, history, and psychology as it is about sailboat maintenance, navigation, and sail trim, though there's plenty of all that too.
It is deeply introspective and while Mr. Williams never lets facts get in the way of a good story, the author is also willing to expose his innermost thoughts, vulnerabilities, and self-doubts to the listener, not always because they contribute to the story arc, but sometimes simply because they are genuine.

I found the author's speech to be incredibly natural and relaxed; how people actually talk. There is a moment when we reflexively reject what we don't expect, apart from any qualitative analysis. Upon finding a nice Cabernet in our Kool-Aid cup, we're likely to spit it out no matter how objectively good it is. Likewise, the first few minutes of listening had me thinking, "this isn't what audiobooks are supposed to sound like," as the narrator plodded along, bumping over sentences unevenly, lurching about more wagon train than cruising sailboat. After a while though it became oddly soothing and I realized it wasn't that Mr. Williams was speaking too slowly, it's that I was listening too fast. You get the feeling while listening that the author isn't in any particular hurry to get anywhere, and that's exactly the point. Modern sailors don't cross the ocean to get to the other side, but rather to experience all the little moments of the crossing, to be here now, and here now, and here now.

After listening to a chapter or three, I feel like I've spent a little time alone together with the author. That seems to have been his intention and I believe he has succeeded.

4 people found this helpful

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Wonderful

Wonderfully entertaining, accessible, and deceptively thought-provoking. Great reading by the author himself. Highly recommend to all...

1 person found this helpful

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Thank you for taking me along!

I don't generally write reviews but I feel compelled to compliment Christian Williams on both his voyage and his book. As a retired woman new to sailing, I enjoyed it immensely, but I believe I would have liked it even if I didn't sail. He made me feel as though I was actually along for the adventure, and I think that's a great accomplishment.

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For Sailors or Non-Sailors

If you have ever wondered what it is like to sail across the pacific, this is a book for you. Christian is a experienced yachtsman and writer. This descriptive adventure will leave you wanting more. The author who is also the narrator is humorous, interesting and the time will fly by while listening to this real life adventure.

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excellent

I really enjoyed listening to this book as read by the author. It will probably get a 2nd listen.

1 person found this helpful

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  • rhys walters
  • 03-01-17

Thank you Christian

Thanks for sharing your story Christian. i love you youtube videos. keep them coming.

the book itself is a nice listen. i really enjoyed it

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mark
  • 08-30-20

A wonderful book

Loved it from start to finish. Didn't want it to end! Christian writes and reads beautifully.

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  • Audun
  • 08-25-20

Perfect balance

A perfect balance between down to earth sailing action & boat preperation and more free flying philosophic observations.

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  • Abe
  • 07-26-20

You Are Not Alone

Relaxing, educational, thought provoking. Im not a sailor, yet, but Christian takes you with him across the Pacific ocean with his friendly and unusual story telling style. I listened to his later book on his second crossing first after finding his YouTube channel. highly recommended,

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  • Nick
  • 07-05-20

Fabulous captivating study of both sailing and life

Too many things to praise. Funny, poignant and thought provoking. Just lovely, can’t wait to find more that Christian has written.

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  • Nigel S
  • 05-26-20

Therapy

An interesting story well told. Helped me get through the covid 19 lockdown when I couldn't get to my boat.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-19-20

Alone together

Read this after reading the painted bird and was the medicine to which my brain needed after reading that horror story. Loved it and laughed out loud at least twice a chapter and smiled through out the book. So who’s going to show this 47 year old how to sail now Brilliant book A must read

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  • J. Wexler
  • 11-18-19

Outstanding reader

I am a new sailor. Listening to this book is like reading someones mind who is making their first big passage. Fabulous writing.

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  • P. S. Clarke
  • 10-20-19

INTERESTING TALE

At first I was confused by the going back and forward but realised after it was integral to the current adventure. A brilliantly constructed tale at the end.

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  • Richie
  • 06-25-19

super read from a great narrator

I'm on my second play of the audio book. I subscribe to your YouTube channel but on Audible you sound remarably similar to Jordan Patterson who I admire enormously. Great writing and I did feel I was in the cockpit with you. highly recommended.

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  • Shane Geard
  • 12-15-16

A gem of a tale and well told!

I found that I couldn't stop listening to this book... I loved the thoughts, wisdom and honesty that only a fine man of deep experience could tell. Absolutely lapped up the technical explanations too, and the processes that were clearly laid out with uncompromising self critique and humour.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-16-18

An Entertaining Education

As a seasoned sailor and Yachting Instructor I thought the narrative was very well done and explained in layman's terms. Must read.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-20-20

Keep this one!

Love this guy, very informative, funny, and entertaining. CW knows his sailing and life stuff if you've wanted to sail away and really wanted to know what's the story here we go.

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  • John
  • 08-29-19

Welcomed aboard

An adventurous tale, endearing, funny, insightful and inspiring. Will take time to ponder the lessons.

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  • Frank@NL
  • 08-15-19

Well narrated

The narrator makes the difference. Magnetic in its listening. I couldn't stop listening. The technical elements are easily explained.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-01-19

Really hard to listen to

The narrator Was really hard to listen to, both in voice & the dialogue. His voice is a whine and I found the many wandering thoughts and analogies really distracting. There was one or two interesting events, but not enough to keep me listening I’m afraid.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-01-18

Christian's a master storyteller and yachtsman

I could not put this down the second I began. Christian's skillset as a writer has not filled at all. Working at the Washington Post now retired, his storytelling is still as sharp as ever. His wit, humor, logical procedures in problem solving and avoidance of disasters on board is captivating and engaging so much so that you as a reader feel the weight of the entire 1984 Ericson 30ft yacht on your shoulders. For someone who has yet to experience the sheer adventure of sailing at all, I was glad to be taken on board and travel with Chrisitian. Thank you and I cannot wait to read your second novel, 'The Philosophy of Sailing'.

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  • Lara Shephard
  • 07-27-18

Interlectually stimulating and entertaining

Narrator being author also was excellent. Christian had lived through the experience so it brought authenticity to the story.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-20-18

Sailing Solo - Without getting wet

Christian Williams has created an account of his solo voyage to Hawaii from Mainland USA, and back in such a way that is both educational and insightful. Christian paints clear pictures with words with such clarity that with a little focus, you can visualize yourself being on the sailboat, living the daily routines and mindset of a solo sailor. I'm inspired to get out their again.