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A Voyage for Madmen
by Peter Nichols

Published: 2002-06-04
Paperback : 336 pages
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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 ...

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Introduction

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.

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Excerpt

Chapter One

In 1966-1967, A 65-year-old Englishman, Francis Chichester, sailed alone around the world. He stopped only once, in Australia.

A tall, thin, balding man with thick-lensed glasses, Chichester looked more like a prep school headmaster than an adventurer. He owned a small book and map store in London. He was a vegetarian. But the urge to subject himself to extreme tests characterized his life. In his youth he made a pioneering flight in a small aircraft from England to Australia. In 1960, at the age of 59, he and four friends made a wager to race each other single-handedly in their four very different boats across the Atlantic. The course began at Plymouth's Eddystone Lighthouse and finished at the Ambrose light vessel off New York Harbor; the route between these two points was up to the racers. There were no other rules. The winner would receive half a crown. ... view entire excerpt...

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