Fastnet Force 10

Fastnet Force 10 : The Deadliest Storm in the History of Modern Sailing

4.15 (421 ratings by Goodreads)
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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 more

Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 149.86 x 220.98 x 20.32mm | 408.23g
  • WW Norton & Co
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • colour photographs
  • 0393308650
  • 9780393308655
  • 179,407

Review quote

"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 "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 Seashow more

Review Text

It was more than 20 years ago that an exceptional conjunction of weather conditions coincided with one of the great classic events in ocean yacht racing. The tragic chaos that was caused to the 650-mile race whose course ran from Cowes on the Isle of Wight, around the Fastnet Rock at the southern extremity of Ireland, and back to Plymouth, is argued about and discussed with awe to this day. On 11th August 1979, 303 well-found yachyts crossed the starting line. The weather forecast was not unusual for this notoriously stormy stretch of water, but the forecast was wrong. Experienced skippers found themselves facing the worst conditions of wind and sea most of them had ever encountered. The storm force 10 winds caused short, mountainous, confused seas that tested boats and men to their limits, and in some cases beyond them. Twenty four yachts were abandoned in various states of wreck, and five sank. Fifteen men were drowned and many injured. Eighty five boats limped over the finish line, most of them badly damaged. Rousmaniere is an experienced yachtsman and journalist who was a leading crew member aboard 'Toscana', one of the American yachts in the race. His first-hand knowledge of the conditions gives great authority to this admirably balanced account of the disaster and heroic rescue operation mounted at the height of the storm that saved many lives. There have been other yachting tragedies since, but none so great. Rousmaniere does well to remind us that part of the compulsion of ocean racing is its raw danger, but that the sea's power is ultimately far greater than man's. (Kirkus UK)show more

About John Rousmaniere

John Rousmaniere has sailed in over 35,000 miles of offshore voyaging and racing. He crewed on the 48-foot Toscana in the fateful Fastnet Race of more

Rating details

421 ratings
4.15 out of 5 stars
5 40% (168)
4 40% (170)
3 16% (68)
2 3% (11)
1 1% (4)
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