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Fastnet, Force 10: The Deadliest Storm in the History of Modern Sailing (New Edition)

Fastnet, Force 10: The Deadliest Storm in the History of Modern Sailing (New Edition) [Kindle Edition]

John Rousmaniere
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product Description


"The book has attained the status of a yachting classic from its writing, the immensity of the disaster it records, and its timely reminder to all sailors that man still cannot always overcome the awesome power of a storm at sea." -- Lloyds List

Product Description

In August 1979, 303 yachts began the 600-mile Fastnet Race from the Isle of Wight off the southwest coast of England to Fastnet Rock off the Irish coast and back.

It began in fine weather, then suddenly became a terrifying ordeal. A Force 10, sixty-knot storm swept across the North Atlantic with a speed that confounded forecasters, slamming into the fleet with epic fury. For twenty hours, 2,500 men and women were smashed by forty-foot breaking waves, while rescue helicopters and lifeboats struggled to save them. By the time the race was over, fifteen people had died, twenty-four crews had abandoned ship, five yachts had sunk, 136 sailors had been rescued, and only 85 boats had finished the race. John Rousmaniere was there, and he tells the tragic story of the greatest disaster in the history of yachting as only one who has sailed through the teeth of a killer storm can. With a new introduction by the author.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Five out of Ten for �Force Ten� 8 Nov 1999
By A Customer
This book recounts the story of the 1979 Fastnet race, a race noted for the destruction and deaths caused when a massive storm broke over the racing fleet as it was sailing exposed at sea. Insofar as the book is a non-fictional account of a fleet of boats and man dealing with treacherous elements, it bears comparison to Sebastian Junger's 'The Perfect Storm'. However, Rousmaniere never quite captures the sheer terror of being caught in a storm at sea, the awesome power of the weather and water and mans' relative helplessness in the face of such elements in the way that Junger does.
John Rousmaniere sailed aboard Toscana, one of the boats involved in the 1979 Fastnet race. This is both a benefit and a drawback; a benefit in that we get a first hand account of the race (Toscana completed the race relatively unscathed) and the author is clearly both knowledgeable and passionate about his sailing. The drawback of his involvement, however, is that we are also 'treated' to fairly insipid descriptions of life aboard Toscana, such as details about the cook on board forgetting the correct cream for a dessert, whereas real drama was unfolding on board other boats.
However, what Rousmaniere does manage well is the difficult act of balancing the need to explain meteorological and sailing terminology with the need to keep the narrative moving along. Each chapter of the book essentially deals with a different boat, its trials and tribulations, and technical details and terminology are injected into the narrative gradually.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic read for sailing enthusiasts 19 Aug 2001
By A Customer
The writing style may not be to everybody's taste, but the content and sheer drama of the tragedy are very well documented and pictured.
Very much reporting the facts, details etc. there are many curious examples, such as the meticulous skipper who insisted that all crew had dental checkup prior to the race; the crew that left one member for dead and jumped into the raft, he came round to find an abandoned ship but was airlifted to safety whilst his crewmates all drowned.
There are a number of classic "storm" books which are essential reading for the sailing enthusiast, and this must surely be on the list. There is always much to be learned from understanding the mistakes made in these tragedies.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Read! 11 May 2010
This book is unputdownable! It's exciting, exhilerating and frightening, especially if you're mere coastal sailors, as we are. I am in awe of the bravery of all concerned.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb and touching 2 May 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book has to be one of the best of its type. Immaculately accurate it conveys in no small measure the absolutely horrifying conditions that the competitors in the Fastnet of that fateful year had to contend with. There can be no doubt that this author lived through a most traumatic event, and along with others in the race who lived to tell the tale he will never forget it. So sad that people died because of horrendous storm conditions in boats which would normally have kept them all safe.
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5.0 out of 5 stars essential reading for serious yachtsmen 2 April 2014
By Glyn
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A fascinating look at every yachtsman's worst nightmare, in some ways reassurance is gained from knowledge of advancements since 1979, however the reader cannot avoid some doubt.
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