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Customer Review

on 11 May 2011
This is a superb book. Eric Newby wonderfully describes his adventures when as a 19-year old he signed up to sail on what would be the last time that a fleet of square-rigged vessels would contest the Grain Race from Australia to England.
Some readers may tire of the nautical terminology (which is explained) or find it tiresome. Although a complete landlubber myself, I found myself able to comprehend the basic difference between a shroud, a sheet and a buntline by the time I finished the book.
The characters of his fellow sailors are well-drawn. Eric Newby makes the most of contrast between himself and the other sailors, who were mainly Swedish or Finnish. They clearly regarded him with contempt as a Englishman to begin with. The humour of life aboard the ship is used to lightne the narrative and make this a far better read than if Newby had merely concentrated on the sailing aspects.
One of the best passages in the book is the description of the passage through the Southern Ocean and round Cape Horn. The terror, exhilaration, and struggle to get the best speed out of the ship really comes to life with brilliant descriptive writing.
This book is a real (and acknowledged) classic of adventure and is one of the most enjoyable travel works I have read.
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Product Details

4.7 out of 5 stars