Near Death on the High Seas: True Stories of Disaster and Survival (Vintage Departures)
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“The wind was blowing at hurricane strength-sixty-five knots and over-and increasing in the gusts to eighty knots. His boat was surfing on waves as high as a sixty-foot, six-storey building. . .Each wave that struck choked and froze him, the icy water working its way down inside his survival suit.” —from Close to the Wind by Pete Goss
In Near Death on the High Seas, Cecil Kuhne collects some of the most terrifying and astounding experiences of sailors confronting the awesome, raw power of the sea. These tales-filled with everyday heroes and survivors-comprise a riveting and often breathtaking collection of extraordinary stories that show the terrible ferocity of the untamable ocean.
• Thor Heyerdahl's Kon-Tiki- the historic and celebrated journey of the Kon-Tiki as it journeys across the Pacific.
• Steve Callahan's Adrift- a solo sailor loses his boat in the Atlantic must survive in a five-foot life raft for 76 days, fighting off sharks with a makeshift spear.
• Francis Chischester's 'Gipsy Moth' Circles The World-the stirring story of a one man's solo sail around the globe at age 65.
• John Rousmaniere's Fastnet, Force 10-in one of the worst sailing tragedies in history, a massive rescue operation takes place amidst sixty-knot winds and forty-foot breaker waves.
Svanur was plucking us out of danger. More Brendan Luck, I reflected, that the first boat in three weeks should show up just when Brendan was blundering into an ice trap. Doubtless we would have been able to work ourselves clear of the ice once the wind had changed, but in future I would be more wary of the ice reports. The pack could move and change its boundaries faster than the Ice Patrol could keep track of it, and next time, I promised myself, I would keep Brendan to seaward of it. I did not
edge of control and I had to make a cup of tea and go about daily life. Each time she rolled at speed I felt the bow coming up and I willed the autopilot to put the helm over—it seemed an eternity before it did. It played on my nerves as we yawed from side to side and I made myself shut it out, fill the kettle and get used to it. I saw that there was a message on the satcom (satellite communication system) and called it up. It was from Amelia Lyon. I hadn’t forgotten the article for so and so,
darkness, we only heard and felt the gale howling in masts and guy ropes, while the gusts pressed with smashing force against the springy bamboo cabin till we thought it would fly overboard. But it was covered with canvas and well guyed. And we felt the Kon-Tiki tossing with the foaming seas, while the logs moved up and down with the movement of the waves like the keys of an instrument. We were astonished that cascades of water did not gush up through the wide chinks in the floor, but they only
could hear it even over the shrill tumult of his boat’s rush through the storm. The carbon-fiber keel, fatally fatigued by the boat’s unending motion, had suddenly snapped off, plunging down to the ocean floor—in this sea area, the relatively shallow southeast Indian Ridge, five hundred fathoms down. Suddenly deprived of its four and a half tons of ballast, the now top-heavy boat flipped over with shocking speed—two or three seconds. Just before it happened, the fifty-seven-year-old Bullimore had
survival suit was designed to stave off hypothermia, but it was a model that left his hands and feet exposed, and all he could do was stuff his already frozen feet back into his soaked seaboots. His food and drinking water were gone, except for some chocolate and several tiny sachets of water—a cup or so. Like most of the equipment in the cabin, his food and water had been sucked out through the smashed window by the powerful vacuum of departing waves. There was no need now to cut a hole in the