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Fastnet, Force 10: The Deadliest Storm in the History of Modern Sailing Paperback – April 17, 2000


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"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 commentator

A gripping book of hair-raising, sometimes heartbreaking anecdote and cool analysis. -- The New York Times Book Review

A horrifying and fascinating account of the terror the oceans can strike and the men who risk sailing them for sport. -- Hank Searls, author of Overboard

A narrative worthy of the best sea literature. -- The Los Angeles Times

I'm dazzled by [Rousmaniere's] sure-footed handling of a complex narrative.... After twenty years, it still reads as freshly as ever. -- Jonathan Raban, author of Passage to Juneau

About the Author

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 1979.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (April 17, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393308650
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393308655
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,455 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

In this new revised edition, John Rousmaniere has updated THE ANNAPOLIS BOOK OF SEAMANSHIP with the most recent information about safety, sails, boathandling, electronics, and health issues -- all passed on from his sailing experience and teaching safety and reviewing accidents. Every chapter has been revised and several have been completely rewritten. For details about new material, see "New in this Edition" on page xi, copied in one of the photos and in a forum on the author page.

"John's ubiquitous ANNAPOLIS BOOK OF SEAMANSHIP has helped train and educate generations of sailors. His many other titles have earned him a reputation as the dean of sailing authors." (Citation, SAIL magazine's "40 Sailors Who Made a Difference," 2010)

In 2013 the U.S. Sailing Association honored John Rousmaniere's work in boating education, including THE ANNAPOLIS BOOK OF SEAMANSHIP (now in its thoroughly updated and revised 4th edition), by presenting John with its Timothea Larr Award. This coveted award recognizes "a person whose vision and guidance have made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of sailor education in the United States."

A devoted sailor since youth, John has some 40,000 miles of blue water behind him, including ocean passages, nine Newport-Bermuda Races, and other major races in small and big boats. He has written or edited 15 books about sailing and the sea, including THE ANNAPOLIS BOOK OF SEAMANSHIP, DESIRABLE AND UNDESIRABLE CHARACTERISTICS OF OFFSHORE BOATS, and other technical books -- as well as histories of the sport and two widely hailed books about storms. His FASTNET, FORCE 10 was hailed as "A narrative worthy of the best sea literature," and Stuart Woods said about AFTER THE STORM, "No one writes about the violence of the sea better than John Rousmaniere."

He has spoken at more than 100 safety seminars and clinics across North America and served on the Safety-at-Sea Committees of U.S. Sailing and the Cruising Club of America, and the Bermuda Race Organizing Committee. He has conducted reviews of boating accidents -- whose stories and lessons are an important thread in the new edition of THE ANNAPOLIS BOOK. He coordinated the U.S. Sailing Association's Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal program, which recognizes mariners who make rescues. John's videos include THE ANNAPOLIS BOOK OF SEAMANSHIP DVD SERIES.

When the Cruising Club of America awarded John its Richard S. Nye Award, the citation said, "His books have been a source of information and inspiration to sailors around the world." Mystic Seaport has presented him its W.P. Stephens award for contributions to yachting history in his many books about the histories of boats, races, the America's Cup, maritime photography, yacht clubs, and storms.

John is a member of the Cruising Club of America, the New York Yacht Club, and U.S. Sailing, and has served on the selection committees of the National Sailing Hall of Fame and the America's Cup Hall of Fame.

Descended from a French soldier who fought in the American Revolution, John lives in New York City with his wife, Leah Ruth Robinson. He takes special pleasure racing in classic wooden boats, cruising across the Gulf Stream in more modern ones, and exploring marshes with his grandchildren in a small catboat.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 14, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book is superb, the best I have ever read on sustained rough weather sailboating and what really happens onboard 30 to 80 foot sailboats in very strong storm conditions at sea. The book is very well written and the author's words allowed me to come quite close to feeling the wet, windy, bouncing, noisy and scary conditions experienced by the people on the boats in that terrible storm. It is highly gripping as an adventure, and unusually informative on how to properly prepare a yacht for offshore sailing where threatening storms are always a real threat. Very enjoyable. by Allen Hobbs, Lt. USN (ret)
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By R. Spell VINE VOICE on July 14, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
From reading Perfect Storm two years ago I have started reading adventure stories at sea. This is a fascinating race in extreme conditions which the author describes very well based on his first hand knowledge. But he also analyzes what went wrong and where the blame should be placed if anywhere. The pictures are exceptional and this is an excellent read with a few slow spots.
However, it is not my favorite sailing adventure. That would be Fatal Storm, the Inside Story of the Sydney-Hobart race. While it may not have taught as much, the stories were more in-depth and mesmerizing.
This book has historical importance from a sailing perspective as it was one of the first races of the modern era with catastrophic results and much was learned for equipment development. A must read for sailors and adventure junkies. Also good for someone wanting to learn about the technical side of racing and weather.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Kurt on January 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
I have read this book multiple times and I have loaned it out to every one I know. It is my favorite adventure book. The writing is superb and John's analysis is spot on. The storm is reviewed from its beginnings over Minnesota, its brush with the J/24 world championship off New England and on to its fateful meeting with the Fasnet fleet. He tells a compelling story about the race and the horror of the sea in a state of rage - this is better than Into Thin Air and the Perfect Storm. Best of all John tells his story with compassion and sensitivity and shows that sometimes no matter what you do you may find yourself in an impossible situation. . Buy this book! You will not be disappointed! Thanks John for a great book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 30, 1997
Format: Hardcover
I read this book a couple of years ago and still think about it often. It is meritorious on two levels. First, it is a gripping account of ocean racing in fierce storm conditions, and secondly, it is a dramatic series of the personal stories of the various people who survived, died, completed the race, and won the race. Most memorable was the author's description of media tycoon Ted Turner (who was at the time also an expert sailor) and his response to the race and it's disastrous aftermath. I wont spoil it for you, but that section really was illuminating. The pictures are incredible
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Pete Shaw on August 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
As a sailor that sails the Atlantic coastal waters in a 26',water ballast sailboat,I was in awe reading Mr. Rousmaniere's great work on the Fastnet disaster. The amount of information gathered required much in depth interviewing no doubt. I found it difficult to put the book down once I got into the story.I found the accounts of the incidents of the various boats to be very vivid, and easily pictured. Anyone who sails,or feels the lure of the sea should definitely read this book!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 11, 1998
Format: Paperback
A well written book. The book is easy to ready, but it still has lots of frightening information. The author describes the Fastnet disaster. He sailed himself on one boat, but he has solid information from several boats. The book has good photographs, in addition to the excellent text.
Everyone who is involved in offshore sailing (or considers taking up offsore sailing) should read this book.
(This review is based on the hard-cover version of the book.)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Richard R. Gillen on November 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is my favorite non-fiction book, and a worthy gift for any serious sailor.
I just finished my third reading of FF10 and as with the first two, couldn't put it down throughout. In my first reading, the story of this tragedy captured me. The second time I focused on the technical aspects and the weather discussions, and the rescues - a sailor's study. This last time I grappled with Rousemaniere's questions concerning decision making and preparedness by sailors and crew.
In light of the recent (2000) film, A Perfect Storm, I wonder whether it would be at all possible to make this story into a movie, and how difficult such a task would be. Those not familiar with the 1979 Fastnet Race would think Hollywood had gone too far in its imagination...truth in this case is stranger than fiction.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
John Rousmaniere has done a super job in explaining what ocean sailing is all about. Even though I have never done ocean sailing, I feel I have learned valuable lessons of what to do and not to do. Mr. Rousmaniere gives actual details of what these sailors go through so you feel you are right with them. I also recommend reading his other book, Rescue in the Pacific.
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