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Interesting but over-rated
on 3 February 2010
This was a truly nightmare situation when all the crews in that Fastnet had to face the "perfect storm" - as such, one can only admire the courage and fortitude of all the survivors and share the grief of the relatives of those that did not make it home alive.
This book, however much it seems to have caught the imagination of many readers and critics, does not tell the whole story or make any attempt at balance by enlisting the views of or any contribution from his crewmates on that fatal voyage and is much the poorer for it. As such, it reads as a very one-sided version of events and, personally, I do not like the journalistic style adopted, presumably by his writing partner. This tends to sensationalise too much and the level of incredibly detailed recall of conversations, emotions and minute-by-minute events after nearly 30 years seems far too much to be entirely true, suggesting a degree of elaboration to prove a point.
The basic story here is, without any question, desperately sad and one shudders to imagine how you might feel in such a situation, recovering consciousness in a raging storm to find that you are all alone with a dead or dying companion. As such, Nick Ward deserves every sympathy but the book would have been much more powerful had it found space for some balance from the other survivors of Grimalkin. They were themselves in an unimaginable situation, one had just lost his father and he and another of the three were only teenagers at the time. As far as they were concerned, I am sure they thought that, by abandoning to the liferaft, they were doing the right thing to save themselves and that they were the only ones still alive.