Book Review: Bumfuzzle, Just Out Looking for Pirates

Three years ago, when we drove to Fort Lauderdale to look at Take Two, the broker tried to draw Jay’s attention another boat on the same dock. She had a funny name, Bumfuzzle, which somehow stuck in our minds. Jay dismissed her easily, as she was too small for a family of six to be comfortable, and was missing key features we liked about Take Two. But later we looked her up, intrigued by the ridiculous name, and discovered she had recently returned from a circumnavigation, and that her previous owners had kept a blog of their journeys online at As Bum’s journey was ending, ours was just beginning.

I just finished reading the first book of which I have never owned a paper copy—having downloaded it onto one of our Kindles—Patrick Schulte’s Bumfuzzle, Just Out Looking For Pirates: A Sail Around the World (©2008, Book Bums Publishing, available at for the Kindle). I laughed out loud through the whole thing, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a compilation of the blogs he kept throughout their journey as well as his keen observations about weather, passage-making, other cruisers, places they visited and the family of the human race.

The book, and the Bums themselves, are not received without controversy, however, so I cautiously recommend the book. If you are a dreamer, one unafraid to take a few risks to live a life of adventure or excitement, to live without regrets, you will love this book. If you are a cruiser, one who has planned your whole life to buy a boat and go cruising, who has, in preparation for this plan, studied everything from knot-tying to celestial navigation, you will probably hate it. The cruiser’s forum that Jay sometimes looks at when looking for advice on how to fix some thing or another reviles the Schultes as being irresponsible and downright foolish, as is anyone who might follow in their footsteps. Their main complaint seems to be that they didn’t know what they were doing when they sailed across oceans and might encourage others to do the same thing.

I would like to point out, though I admit to being biased, the fact that they made it, changed but unscathed, should give them some credibility. Also, being young cruisers ourselves, we realize that the only way to do this thing while you’re still young is to do it without knowing how. Although we’re just getting started, having only recently left U.S. waters, we are already frustrated at not finding anyone younger than our parents out here sharing anchorages. We have seen only two boats with children—one a charter that sailed away the same day it dropped the hook, and the other we met yesterday, which looks promising. I know why the Schultes felt that they did not fit in with the cruiser crowd, and am beginning to understand some of Pat’s criticism, which he does not hide in the book.

Still, anyone who likes a good sea story, sailor or no, would enjoy Bumfuzzle. If you think that sailing around the world is an impossible journey, but you’d like to do it anyway, reading this book could inspire you do try it. Reading his opinions has certainly opened our minds to a different way of thinking, and while they are strong and possibly offensive, they do have merit and the cruising community would be a better place if we were all a bit more like the Bums.