5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining Read, Especially for Cruising Cat Owners, December 22, 2012, Curtis Collins
As a cruiser, charter captain (some these stories relate to charters), and a cat owner, this book was especially relevant to me. I happened across it in a marina in Panama. A light enjoyable read. I think any cruiser, with or without a cat, but especially with a cat, can relate to this collection of cruising stories. My feline cruising buddy died last year. It was a tough loss. While not technically a Margarita Cat he shared some of the same genetic ancestry and definitely the same personality.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Different American Dream, February 5, 2011, Mickey Sinclair
This is a terrific book. It is about a gritty, modern day Thoreau, living on a sailboat, looking ever over the next horizon, driven to succeed in not being part of the rat race and creating his own `American dream'. Whether you are a current sailor or adventurer, or now more of an armchair Walter Mitty, I think you are going to love the way Bruce Van Sant shares his steps and mis-steps, his wisdom and his philosophy, his 'tricks of the trade'. He takes us from his Eastern Shore boyhood, escaping from heartbreaking poverty and learning from life's hard knocks to his current ex-patriot retirement in the Caribbean, from worldwide wanderings to practical advice on how to get along with local people everywhere - including a revealing chapter on how to get close to a better class of attractive and smart women. He couldn't go on the American way but he found something better. He shows us the price he paid and the rewards he earned by marching to his own drummer. As a fellow 'factory second' and addicted sailor, I loved this book. I found myself slowing down in my reading of Margarita Cat, not wanting it to end. You have to read this book.
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for sailors!, December 22, 2010, Henry Samson
Although Bruce Van Sant has written books specifically for sailors, this is not one of them. This is a charming book of stories and recollections from his years living the sort of life many would like to live but few actually do. The 64 short stories are his unembellished accounts of adventures he experienced during 40 years of traveling the globe, much of the time on his own boat. For those of us who have lived this sort of life or have dreamed of living this sort of life this book gives a glimpse into the experiences that make such adventures worthwhile. Not the storms, the passages or the anchorages in some tropical paradise (see his book The Gentleman's Guide to Passages South or Tricks of the Trades if that is what you are looking for) but instead the characters and cultures he experienced in a life lived fully.
No lessons on sailing here but perhaps some lessons on living.
5.0 out of 5 stars A window on a life few of us can experience, September 21, 2010, Jason L Hoath
Not a sailor myself, I bought this book expecting a collection of gritty, real-life stories to transport my mind away from the American midwest and into the outer world beyond the cocoon of security. This book did not disappoint. Indeed, I couldn't put it down. If you're looking for sugar coated, multi-culti depictions of quaint and lovely foreigners in untainted paradise, look elsewhere. But if you're able to accept that people of every nation are more than just cardboard cut outs, that everyplace has both problems and compensations, you'll see a lot of truth in this book. For those of us without experiences like those of the author, it can really make you sit back and wonder - what am I doing with my life?
5.0 out of 5 stars True stories to change attitudes and latitudes, August 10, 2010, Pat Banyas
I thoroughly enjoyed these no BS, no punches pulled, short stories from Bruce Van Sant's past experiences. For those who travel the East Coast and Caribbean on boats and have dreamed of cruising the Bahamas and the Islands South, Bruce Van Sants 'Gentleman's Guide to Passages South' is one of the foremost and most direct bible. 'Margarita Cats' is a collection of stories detailing different rites of passage we all go through as we grow up that compile to sum up who we are. Bruce's rites are somewhat more eclectic than most of us but they show us the essential experiences which guided Bruce as he wrote 'Gentleman's Guide to Passages South' and provide insight to why his bible doesn't bandy about with political correctness and babying that many want-to-be cruisers want.
5.0 out of 5 stars Margarita Cat, August 6, 2010, Julia Bartlett, author of "Just Another Day in Paradise"
In 'Margarita Cat' Bruce Van Sant's voice spins his tales as truly as if you were sitting across the table from him in an out of the way rum shop on a white sand beach, sipping a frosty beer. The cruising life is seen through the objective, educated lens of a world traveler and makes a riveting read for old and new salts alike.
If you have cruised some of the same waters all will ring true to you; if not, you will be tempted to by these tasty snippets.
Spanning 40 years and four continents this is a window into a different way of life that still only a relatively few of us get to enjoy.

5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Collection of True Sea Stories, June 21, 2010, William Hezlep, author of "Into the Land of Coconut Dreams"
Bruce Van Sant's new book "Margarita Cat" is a collection of sixty-four short, true, tales gleaned from forty years of his log books; the log books of one of the most experienced cruising sailors out there (see "The Gentleman's Guide to Passages South" and "Tricks of the Trades", both by Mr. Van Sant). This is a nice book to keep by your bedside, on the breakfast table, or where ever your reading seat might be. The stories are short, perfect for an early morning or late night read, and while places and characters appear and re-appear from tale to tale, each story is complete and can stand on its own. The stories are not little suger pills about how wonderful everything always is or was; the sort of name dropping, we went here, we went there and we, we, we had just a fabulous time stories, both short and book length, of which there are way too many in print. Nothing is perfect and wonderful for two years, let alone forty, and these stories of the people, places, ports, boats, bureaucrats, weather, joys, pleasures, dangers and fears of the cruising life are told as the author expierenced it over his years of sailing--warts and all.

This is a great book for sailors and cruisers, past presant and wannabe, for parrot heads, dreamers, drifters and the secret Walter Mitty in all of us.

Truth in advertising--since 1993 I have lived on small cruising boats, sail and power, following in Bruce Van Sants wake from Canada to Venezuela and beyond, he got there first and he tells it best.
5.0 out of 5 stars Peter Swanson, contributor to Yachting, Soundings and Passagemaker magazines
"Bruce Van Sant spent 40 years navigating in that subculture. But coming so early into it he never really fit in with the American cruising crowd as it swelled to a movement. His apartness has given him a unique, often hilarious perspective of what happens when Middle-America decides to escape by sea. Bruce痴 mind does not work like most of ours, so when he puts his thoughts in writing, as he has done in Margarita Cat, the result is an oddball classic in a genre of one."
5.0 out of 5 stars Cruising Guide Publications
"a lovely and indulgent book of letters, logs, and memories compiled like a giant love letter to the sea and all those who dare to venture upon her. Bruce Van Sant's Margarita Cat is yet another wonderful example of his literary and epistolary sagacity, whimsy and an ongoing love affair with the written word."