Godforsaken Sea: Racing the World's Most Dangerous Waters

Derek Lundy

Published by Thomas t Beeler, 1999
ISBN 10: 1574902156 / ISBN 13: 9781574902150
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Synopsis: Godforsaken Sea is the hair-raising account of the world's most demanding and dangerous sailing race: around the world, one sailor, one boat, no stops, no assistance.
This is the story of the 1996-1997 Vendee Globe, a grueling four-month circumnavigation of the globe in the most dangerous of all waters, the Southern Ocean. Through the eyes and experiences of the fourteen men and two women who began the race, author Derek Lundy harnesses the hurricane-force winds, the six-story waves, the icebergs, and the deafening noise in an effort to expose the spirit of the men and women who push themselves to the outer limits of human endeavor - even if it means never returning home.
You'll meet the gallant Brit who spends days beating back against the worst seas to save a fellow racer; the Frenchman who bothers to salvage only a bottle of champagne from his broken and sinking boat; the sailor who comes to love the albatross that trails her for months, naming it Bernard; the veteran who calmly keeps smoking his cigarette as his boat capsizes; and the Canadian who, hours before he disappears forever, dispatches this message: If you drag things out too long here, you're sure to come to grief.

Review: The Southern Ocean is the sailor's Everest. These are unquestionably the most dangerous waters in the world: hurricane infested, frigid, wholly unpredictable, and so remote, according to Derek Lundy, that "only a few astronauts have ever been further from land than a person on a vessel in that position." Encircling Antarctica, this fearsome body of water has terrorized sailors and wrecked the ablest of ships throughout maritime history. Imagine, then, a round-the-world, single-handed sailing race of the most extreme kind--no stopping, no assistance--requiring each lone sailor to spend half the total race distance (roughly 13,000 miles) fighting this nightmarish, merciless sea.

The race is the Vendee Globe, and The Godforsaken Sea is the story of the 1996-1997 competition. Fourteen men and two women began the race in Les Sables-d'Olonne, France. Six officially finished; three were wrecked and rescued; one sailor performed emergency surgery on himself mid-race; one perished. This is high adventure of the most gripping, perilous sort, demanding a tightly controlled, suspenseful narrative: "Visualize a never-ending series of five- or six-story buildings, with sloping sides of various angles ... moving towards [the sailors] at forty miles an hour. Some of the time, the top one or two stories will collapse on top of them." But Lundy delivers more, weaving a superior fabric of psychology and physics, action and reflection. Even the utter novice will emerge understanding the architecture of racing vessels, the evolution of storms, the physical and psychological courage required to survive five-and-a half months battling the ocean alone.

Sailing aficionados may already believe that the Vendee Globe is the pinnacle of extreme sports. With Lundy's help, armchair adventurers can dig in and hang on for the ride. --Svenja Soldovieri

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Title: Godforsaken Sea: Racing the World's Most ...
Publisher: Thomas t Beeler
Publication Date: 1999
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Good

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