As I write this we’re sitting in London, lucky enough to get here for work, and Christa came along for the weekend. That’s not too far away from the start and finish of the Fastnet Race (at least for a north american) which is a bi-annual race from the Isle of Wight to the Fastnet rock off Ireland and back to Plymouth. There is a wiki description of it here.
The race this book is discussing is from 1979, when over 300 vessels started with 24 crews abandoning ship, 5 sinking and 15 people died. It’s one of those stories that most sailors have heard about and discuss at the pub for both morbid curiosity and what lessons could be learned. Likely another one of those items that is not the best thing to convince Christa that we should sail off into the sunset.
In other sources I had read that one of the prevalent thoeires/criticisms of those unfortunate crews was the majority was a combination of inexperience and leaving their still floating vessels for the liferaft which was much less suited for the conditions.
John Rousmaniere was himself in the race on the sailing vessel Toscana. At the time he did find the storm substantial but not the historic event that it turned out to be. He jumps from story to story from different perspectives of those involved and it is an easy read. I got through it fairly quickly. As with other books such as this, it uses nautical/sailing terms and jargon so those who are not familiar with them may have some trouble following.
I was interested to learn there were some other notable individuals in this race. Former British PM Edward Heath on s/v Morning Cloud, and Ted Turner on s/v Tenacious, both of which had a sporty ride themselves.
In the end I was a tad disapointed that his conclusions were fairly short and did not end with a definitive statement obviously lessons learned, like I was, perhaps naively, hoping for.
There is another book other there from a guy that was also in the race, Nick Ward, that alsmot didn’t make it himself called Left For Dead. I plan to read that one as well.