Books: The Sociable Ocean

TINKERBELLE by Robert Manry. 254 pages. Harper & Row. $5.95.

For 30 years, along the course of a newspaper career that carried him to the copy desk of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Robert Manry nourished a secret dream. In 1958 he paid $160 for a sailing hull rotted by age and neglect. Repaired, refitted and baptized on fresh-water shakedown cruises, Tinkerbelle slipped her moorings at Falmouth, Mass., on June 1, 1965. Seventy-eight days and 3,200 miles later, the 13½-ft. sloop touched shore in Falmouth, England, the smallest sailing craft ever known to have crossed the Atlantic.

Manry is the most unprepossessing sort of...