Seafaring cat focus of storybook series – The Ellsworth American


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BROOKSVILLE — Most cats don’t dream about sailing around the world. Neither did Chowder. But in the 1990s, the feline somewhat reluctantly joined her caregivers, Captain Lee and mate Sheila, on a voyage lasting six years. Their journey covered over 45,000 miles, including foreign lands and remote tropical islands.

In “Sailing South ’til the Butter Melts,” the first in Brookville author LeCain W. Smith’s trilogy about Chowder’s sea adventure, readers follow the cat’s journey from land to getting her sea legs aboard a 43-foot sailboat built by the author also known as Captain Lee. While exploring the Americas’ Pacific Coast to the Galapagos Islands, the cat adjusts to life on the ocean, handling each experience and adapting to a variety of situations during the first two years. Her apprehension turns into a sense of curiosity and wonder as she is transformed into a global seafarer, braving rolling seas, lightning, storms, sharks, wild jungle animals and pirates. Still, she also purrs at the pleasure of eating fresh fish, playing with birds, listening to singing parrots, watching dancing dolphins or spouting whales and being with friendly folks from many cultures. 

From a feline’s perspective, Chowder gives the inside scoop on life aboard a cruising yacht. 

Smith says the series of illustrated chapter books is intended for middle-grade and young adults, but also is suitable for sailors and any adult with the heart of a child.

“As an educational and humorous book, full of excitement, unexpected dangers, amazing encounters, and joyful moments, ‘Sailing South ’til the Butter Melts’ is a unique adventure story based on true events,” the author says. “It is the first in a three-part series ‘The Amazing Adventures of the Sea Cat Chowder,’ where the sea cat, Chowder, provides her own viewpoint of all her experiences.”

Born in southern Maine, Smith was called to the sea early in life. Over the years, different sailboats took him on many nautical adventures. On most every voyage, he had a cat as a companion. In time, his skills came to include teaching sailing and navigation, boatbuilding, delivering boats, yacht surveying, serving as a harbormaster and captaining chartered boats from various ports including Bucks Harbor. 

Over the years, Smith has written several nonfiction books with nautical, historical and health-related themes. One of the more recent was “The Maritime History of Brooksville.”

During the 1980s, Smith spent five years building a 43-foot ketch while living in Port Townsend, Wash. He then embarked on a six-year voyage around the world. In the company of his mate Sheila and trusted sea cat Chowder, they visited many remote islands and exotic parts of the world. Since that journey, LeCain had produced “Far Away,” a documentary video about the South Pacific leg of the voyage. Now, Chowder gets a turn to tell her own version of the world odyssey in a trilogy of books, starting with “Sailing South ’til the Butter Melts.”

“Sailing South ’til the Butter Melts” is expected to be released in early June. Published through Windrose Productions, the storybook will be sold at Blue Hill Books and the print book and e-book edition can be ordered directly from the author at Information about the “The Amazing Adventures of the Sea Cat Chowder” and the remaining two stories, “Far Away Islands of Paradise” and “Westward Over the Horizon,” is available on the website. To contact the author directly, email [email protected]

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