The Ensign, Official Magazine of United States Power Squadrons, January 2004 ©

Hard aground. Those two words jumped up at me just like a Bogue Banks sandbar. Being aground in a boat is a subject of which I have a working knowledge. Next to the experience of one Eddie Jones of Oriental, N.C., however, I am a novice.

Jones writes a monthly column for Anything titled Hard Aground had to be checked out. The column was well worth the read, but it left me wanting more.

Fortunately for his fans, Jones has compiled 39 of his most entertaining works into Hard Aground with Eddie Jones. He calls the stories "selected sailing essays for the navigationally challenged." If that doesn't pique your interest, the book's cover features a picture of Jones's Nimble 20 high and dry on the Camp Don Lee Sailing School's canoe dock!

Jones looks at the laughs at his own blunders, failures, trials and triumphs. He takes us along on his cruises and I defy anyone who has spent more than a couple of weekends paddling a canoe at the local lake not to find similarities to their own boating experiences. Like most of the boaters in and around Oriental, Jones is a sailor. There are, however, plenty of events with which us "stink-potters" can commiserate.

Some of my favorite passages include stories of jumping from the dock to the boat while carrying an outboard (while his young son sat on the bank to watch for snakes), sinking his trailer at the put-in ramp and his hilarious explanation of who really purchases boats. (Here's a hint: It's not the guys.)

Don't make the same mistake as I and start reading Hard Aground at bedtime. I couldn't put this book down, and was up half the night reading and laughing, much to the chagrin of my first mate, who has to rise for work at 0500. However, once she starts reading it for herself, she will understand why I kept her awake and all will be forgiven.

This is one great book! Best of all, your own autographed copy can be purchased for only $14.95. Check it out at You won't be disappointed.

Cdr Jack E. Cummins, AP
Winston Salem (NC) Squadron

Reprinted with permission from
The Ensign Official Magazine of United States Power Squadrons January 2004 ©