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A maritime adventure memoir that follows a

crew of misfits hired to sail an eighteenth-century warship six thousand miles to Hollywood

In the late 1990s, Patrick O’Brian’s beloved, massively bestselling historical novel series was destined for film, with Master & Commander: The Far Side of the World. With director Peter Weir and stars Russel Crowe and Paul Bettany signed on, there was only one problem: The Rose, the replica eighteenth-century warship that filmmakers bought for the production, was in Newport, Rhode Island, two oceans and thousands of miles away from Hollywood.


Enter a ragtag crew of thirty oddballs and tall-ship fanatics, including author Will Sofrin, at the time a twenty-one-year-old wooden-boat builder and yacht racer looking for some direction in his life. Together, the crew embarked on an epic adventure, racing a ticking clock and fighting against Mother Nature, and occasionally each other, to deliver the Rose, hopefully in one piece.


Advance Praise for


“Will Sofrin’s thrilling account of the eventful, sometimes terrifying delivery of the tall ship that starred in Peter Weir’s adaptation of Patrick O’Brian’s The Far Side of the World is a must-read. Even if you haven’t seen the movie or read O’Brian’s novels, this is an adventure story of the highest order.”

—NATHANIEL PHILBRICK, author of the National Book Award–winning In the Heart of the Sea and Travels with George

“Fact stalks fiction in this epic tale. Huzzah!”

—PETER WEIR, Academy Award–winning co-writer, producer, and director of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

“High-spirited and finely detailed . . . Sofrin intersperses details of life aboard the Rose with tidbits of tall ship history and enlightening commentary on Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin novels . . . this adventure tale will delight sailors of all stripes.”

“Enthralling . . . Experienced sailors and landlubbers alike will find Sofrin’s work a pleasure to read.” 


All Hands on Deck, by Will Sofrin, after a wild voyage in a latter-day wooden frigate, we have a latter-day tale of a seagoing apprenticeship under sail. Lucid, personal, funny, and instructive, it could be read next to Two Years Before the Mast with no apologies. Ships and times may have changed, but the sea and young souls drawn to the sea have changed but little. And certainly, the raw shock of that first passage at sea has changed even less. This story is a worthy tale of a young man and a ship and the sea. I enjoyed it immensely.” 

—CAPTAIN DANIEL MORELAND, The Barque Picton Castle 

“Like many a sailor, Will Sofrin is a wicked good storyteller, with a jaundiced eye, an impish sense of humor, and a nose for the telling detail. Lovers of the Aubrey-Maturin novels and the movie Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World will find his account a worthy addition to the salty O’Brian world we love. You don’t want to miss it!”

—DEAN KING, national bestselling author of A Sea of WordsPatrick O’Brian: A Life Revealed, and Skeletons on the Zahara

“A thrilling account. Readers needn’t have ever set foot on a boat to enjoy this story.”

—TRACY EDWARDS, trailblazing round-the-world sailor

“While researching for paintings I have probably read hundreds of ships' logbooks from the glory days of the Royal Navy, just as Patrick O'Brian did, so I know what things looked like from the quarterdeck (there are very, very few surviving accounts from the crews). But with this book Will Sofrin gives us a great insight into the intense working life of the lower deck, now just as it was then, constantly battling the elements, gear failure, and sometimes each other.”

—GEOFF HUNT, marine artist and illustrator of the Patrick O'Brian book covers

“Will Sofrin takes us on an unbelievable ride on the high seas . . . I have played pretend on the open ocean. Will Sofrin has lived the real experiences and survived to tell the tale.”

—DAN SHOTZ, executive producer of the Emmy Award–winning Starz series Black Sails

All Hands on Deck is a fascinating read: a combination of a travelogue to distant lands, maritime history, and adventures
and misadventures on the high seas. Through it all, author Will Sofrin is learning to live in tight and uncomfortable quarters
on a tall ship alongside crewmembers of very divergent personalities. They ultimately form into a team with the common goal of staying alive on an unforgiving and unpredictable ocean.”

—MICHAEL TOUGIAS, New York Times bestselling author of Extreme Survival and A Storm Too Soon

“So you want to go to sea, do ya? Will Sofrin takes us aboard Rose as the vessel endures storms and near calamity. After a long delivery under the glare of Hollywood lights, Sofrin tells us what it was like to sail the seas on a tall ship. This intriguing tale will inspire you to head offshore.”

GARY JOBSON, America’s Cup Hall of Fame sailor

“People love tall ships, but the lives and culture of modern tall ship sailors are a mystery to most who attend sea festivals and the like. In All Hands on Deck, Will Sofrin accomplishes two things: He brings to light the real world of today’s traditional mariners while telling the thrilling tale of how he himself was plunged into that world. With accomplished and insightful storytelling, Sofrin recounts an extraordinary, often hair-raising voyage, and in doing so reveals to readers the lives of the modern-day sailors of the big rigs.” 

—JAMES L. NELSON, award-winning author of the Norsemen Saga and Benedict Arnold’s Navy



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