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all hands on deck

April | 2023

A maritime adventure memoir that follows a crew of misfits hired to sail an 18th-century warship 5,000 miles to Hollywood

In the late 1990s, Patrick O’Brian’s multimillion-copy-selling historical novel series—the Aubrey–Maturin series, which was set during the Napoleonic Wars—seemed destined for film. With Russell Crowe as Jack Aubrey and Paul Bettany as Stephen Maturin, the production only needed a ship that could stand in for Lucky Jack’s HMS Surprise, with historical accuracy paramount. The filmmakers found the Rose, a replica of an 18th-century ship that would work perfectly. Only there was one problem: the Rose was in Newport, Rhode Island, not in Southern California, where they would be filming. Enter a ragtag crew of thirty oddballs who stepped up for the task, including Will Sofrin, at the time a 21-year-old wooden-boat builder and yacht racer, who joined as the ship’s carpenter.

 

All Hands on Deck is Sofrin’s memoir of the epic adventure delivering the Rose to Hollywood. It’s a story of reinvention, of hard work on the high seas,

of love, and of survival. The Rose was an example of the most cutting-edge technology of her era, but in the 21st century, barely anyone had experience sailing it. The crew effectively went back in time, brought to life the old ways of a forgotten world, and barely lived to tell the tale. Just a few days in, a terrifying hurricane-strength storm nearly sank the Rose, and later, a rogue wave caused a nearly fatal dismasting. And the ups and downs weren’t limited to the waves—with the crew split into factions, making peace between warring camps became necessary, too, as did avoiding pirates and braving the temptations of shore leave. All Hands on Deck is a gripping story of an unforgettable journey and a must-read for fans who adore O’Brian’s novels and the dramatic film adaptation of Master and Commander.