A Voyage For Madmen

A Voyage For Madmen

A Voyage For Madmen

One of the things we do onboard Dream is read books. Lots of books. All genres, all authors, but I (Carl) in particular love to read sailing related books, mmm! wonder why that is?

I have been reading sailing related books since I was a kid, I think I still have the Robinson Crusoe and Treasure Island books in my parents attic. They used to take pride of place on my bedroom bookshelf as a kid. In fact I think the Treasure Island copy was one my Dad had as a kid! The Robinson Crusoe book was my “best book”. I can still remember the smell of it. A5 in size but approx three inches thick, red simulated leather cover with gold embossed binding and lettering. I can still remember the day my Dad bought it me. I daren’t bend back the pages for fear of spoiling it. But eventually I plucked up courage to read it. The most pages in a book I had ever read, back then.

Current Times

Nowadays, with space at a premium we restrict ourselves to actual paper books and instead opt for Kindle versions, apart from books such as pilotage and planning etc.

Now if you have never used a Kindle before, the first time you use one you will find it a bit strange, almost as if it’s not really a book. Well luckily it doesn’t last, and I can say now that I now find it strange to read a real paper book. The beauty of the Kindle, or any e-reader for that matter, is that you can always have it with you, the battery lasts for weeks, you can read it in the dark, ie, when you’re in bed and the other half wants to go to sleep, and now with the latest release you can read it in the bath, swimming pool etc as its now waterproof! Not forgetting to mention that you can have hundreds if not thousands of books all in that one device. You can even download the Kindle app to your iPad, iPhone, Android phone and tablets etc and read them there. 

Anyway, back on topic, we thought because we read a lot of books that are sailing related, we would start and do a bit of a review of the books we read on our blog and let you know what we thought of them.

So we’ll kick it off with this first book;

A VOYAGE FOR MADMEN by Peter Nichols

So what’s the story? To quote Amazon:

In 1968, nine sailors set off on the most daring race ever held: to single-handedly circumnavigate the globe nonstop. It was a feat that had never been accomplished and one that would forever change the face of sailing. Ten months later, only one of the nine men would cross the finish line and earn fame, wealth, and glory. For the others, the reward was madness, failure, and death.

In this extraordinary book, Peter Nichols chronicles a contest of the individual against the sea, waged at a time before cell phones, satellite dishes, and electronic positioning systems. A Voyage for Madmen is a tale of sailors driven by their own dreams and demons, of horrific storms in the Southern Ocean, and of those riveting moments when a split-second decision means the difference between life and death.

Well my thoughts on the book were quite good. I have read all the books based around the Golden Globe race. This one is a bit of a compilation of all the individual books. Whilst it lacks a little in in depth detail, as an all round book it covers the story quite well. If you haven’t got time to read all the different books by different sailors involved in the original Golden Globe race then this is the one for you. It gives accounts from each of the sailors, and covers the unfortunate story also of Donald Crowhurst, who’s story has been made into two or three films so far.

Would I recommend this book? Yes I would. The book discusses the fate of each sailor in turn. Using well described words, Nichols describes how the nine sailors fought through storms and collisions, through the roaring 40s and the furious 50s, and how each man experienced those moments of solitary despair, lonely disappointment and occasional mystical elation that are unique to long-haul solo sailing. One of the most commendable features of the book is the way Nichols discusses the technical side of yachtsmanship with verve and passion without ever turning into an anorak. This is a fine and absorbing true-life tragicomedy, suitable for landlubbers and sea dogs alike.

Should you buy it? Well yes you should. Order it as a Kindle book, sit down with a hot mug of tea, or whatever else you fancy and settle down for a good read. I finished the book in three sessions I was that engrossed by the writing style and the actual storyline. It’s just a shame the final ending couldn’t have been a little bit different and happier. 

If you want to get a copy of the book you can click on the link below. This will take you straight to the page on Amazon. I’ve also added a link where you can buy the latest waterproof edition of the Kindle.

Leave a comment below and let us know what you think of the book and please let us know of your favourite sailing related book(s).

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