Atlantic Affair consists of three parts. Part One is a description of Otway Waller’s single-handed voyage made in his 26ft yawl in 1930 following the route of his friend and gun-runner Conor O’Brien’s circumnavigation, in which he demonstrated the value of the self-steering system he invented, the first to enable a yacht to run unattended before the wind. It introduces the reader to a brave man, whose journey would fulfill many landlubber dreams today. It also explains the final and shocking cause of the break-up of Otway’s marriage.
At the end of Part One, Otway, who is seriously ill with a divorce pending, decides to return to Ireland to face his wife Muriel and his son Peter. This is dealt with in Part Three.
To understand these three characters, we need to go back to Otway’s and Muriel’s courting and Peter’s childhood. Who better to tell this story than Peter? He wrote an autobiographical manuscript, the second half of which became Irish Flames – Peter Waller’s true story of the arrival of the Black and Tans. Part Two of Atlantic Affair incorporates even more of Peter’s manuscript.
The final third of the book follows directly on from Part One. In 1930 Otway is in the Canary Islands suffering from Canary Fever. He decides to postpone his voyage on the Imogen and return to Ireland to face a divorce, the split in his family and community, the torching of his house and being forced out of Ireland by a UK monopoly supplier.
Peter Fernie, the Editor of the Irish Cruising Club, reviewed Atlantic Affair for the Autumn 2014 edition of their newsletter. He says: "This is a family memoir recounting the life of a charismatic ICC member Capt. Otway Waller, whose tumultuous life straddled a chaotic time, which included the Irish war of independence and the first and second world wars. Of interest to sailors is his single handed crossing of the Bay of Biscay, and then on to the Canaries.”
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