Fastnet, Force 10

The Deadliest Storm in the History of Modern Sailing

John Rousmaniere (Author)

Overview | Inside the Book
 

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.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • April 2000
  • ISBN 978-0-393-30865-5
  • 6 × 9 in / 304 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“I reread Fastnet, Force 10 for at least the fourth time, with pleasure and admiration, as always. For a long time now, it has been a huge favorite of mine; as a writer, I'm dazzled by [John Rousmaniere]'s sure-footed handling of a complex narrative, with multiple points of view, all beautifully woven into a continuous and powerful story. After twenty years, it still reads as freshly as ever.” — Jonathan Raban, author of Passage to Juneau, Coasting, and Old Glory and editor of The Oxford Book of the Sea

“John Rousmaniere's gripping account of that calamitous race is a must-read for anyone thinking about sailing offshore. This richly detailed account provides inspiration for all sailors to thoroughly prepare and use good sense at sea.” — Gary Jobson, ESPN sailing commentator

“There are few new lessons in safety at sea. What we teach is the accumulated wisdom of centuries, passed down to us by those who took the trouble to think and then to write. [Fastnet, Force 10] is still the best single source of those lessons, in my view.... Thanks for a great book and a lifetime of caring for those who go down to the sea in ships.” — John Bonds, Safety-at-sea expert and former director of the U.S. Sailing Association and the U.S. Naval Academy sailing program

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