The Commodore by Jan de Hartog
I cannot believe I never read this before. I loved [book:Captain Jan A Story of Ocean Tugboats|6251910] when I read it years ago along with several other nautical books by Jan de Hartog. I am so glad I was reminded of that terrific book and I've ordered a whole bunch of additional de Hartog works.
I need to state at the outset that if you don't like nautical books, or books about ships, leave now and go about your depressing little lives. There is something about the grandeur of the sea and man's attempts to overcome storms in his puny little ways, that always makes for a great story, be it fiction or non-fiction. And when the book is about an ocean-going salvage tug, watch out.
This book grabbed me and would not let go. Maxinius Harinxma, (also the star of The Captain) retired salvage tug captain is asked to come out of retirement for one last job as the consulting captain of a brand new slavage tug, the Isabel Kwel. There's just one problem, it's gone through several captains and no one wants to say why. Harinxma seeks out the first master who told him of the ship's very peculiar desire to roll like a barrel under certain circumstances to the point where everyone was sure it would capsize. Still, after a trial run and witnessing how the latest captain used the bow thruster to contain the roll, Harinxma decides to take the job.
Of course, nothing is that simple, and soon he is caught in a web of intrigue surrounding the sale of the ship and it's secret tow. Anything more would be a spoiler. If you like the sea, grab a copy.
Also highly recommended: [book:The Grey Seas Under The Perilous Rescue Mission of a N.A. Salvage Tug|785655]
Pictures of a salvage tug much like the Isabel Kwel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kz_49OxRLHc
Spectacular video of one of the new salvage tugs being put through its paces.: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yCCPioL4Ro
And the Abeille Flandre and Abeille Bourbon, the most powerful new salvage tugs in Europe in a storm. What I wouldn't give to have been on the bridge:
Very cool. Of course I would have puked my guts out.