eReadings - Sailing
In the Track of the Trades - Lewis Freeman (1920)
Through the South Seas with Jack London - Martin Johnson (1907-1909)
Round Cape Horn. Voyage of the Passenger Ship James W Paige from Maine to Califormia in the Year 1852 - J Lamson (1878)
The first of these tells the story of a novelist cruising on a private yacht, starting out at Pasadena, California, then on to Hawaii, then southward to the Polynesian islands. There is never any explanation of how the author came to be on this ship. This was a ship well-captained and the sailing proceeded more or less as planned. Rough weather certainly occurs during the voyage, but is well-handled, with repairs as needed along the way. Even at this point in the early 20th century, there was some uncertainty of safety in Polynesia, still some evidence of piracy by local islanders, but nothing untoward occurs, and the inhabitants of the various islands generally treat them well.
The second book, while similar in its course across the South Pacific, is a very different tale. The author was a young man in his twenties in Independence, Kansas, who answered an announcement that the author Jack London was going to take a cruise, and was looking for a crew. In spite of no experience whatsoever, he was taken on by Mr. London, initially as a cook, which he had no experience with either. He travels to California and stays with Mr. London and his wife while their ship is being fitted for the cruise. The original idea was that they were going to make a trip around the world. It seemed that no one on the ship had any significant oceanic cruising experience, and consequently various problems occurred along the way, crew members were replaced at various ports, and they were lucky to survive some of the weather they saw. Mr. London was apparently corresponding with a San Francisco newspaper with articles about their trip, and at one point they were presumed lost at sea when they hadn't been heard of for quite a while. Various ailments are acquired along the way, and eventually infections with yaws causes an end to the expedition in Australia.
The last book is a different sort of harrowing tale, showing how bad a cruise on a passenger ship could be in the mid-1800s. Early in the story we begin to learn how irascible the captain is, and matters don't get any better. He short-changes the passengers in regard to food, presumably trying to save money on the voyage. He gets into fights with some of his crew, and arguments with some of the passengers, the author included. Since this was before the Panama Canal existed, the only way to California was around Cape Horn, a very risky thing at the time. They manage to make it to California intact, and it's hard to imagine any of those passengers traveling by ship again.