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Journey of a Hope Merchant: From Apartheid to the Elite World of Solo Yacht Racing Hardcover – October, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-1570035647 ISBN-10: 1570035644

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 201 pages
  • Publisher: University of South Carolina Press (October 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570035644
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570035647
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,372,195 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"Neal Petersen has completed two amazing journeys in his life: a single-handed sailboat race around the world and an even more arduous and eventful trip just to make it to the starting line."—Brian Hicks, author of Ghost Ship and coauthor of Into the Wind, Around Alone: The Story of the World’s Longest Race

"From the underwater diamond mines off Africa to the violent storms off Cape Horn, Neal Petersen’s story is a roller-coaster ride that will leave you exhilarated and inspired."—Tony Bartelme, Charleston Post and Courier

About the Author

Neal Petersen, a self-taught sailor, was born in Cape Town, South Africa. In 1999 he became the first black man to race solo around the globe. An international sportsman, a motivational speaker, and the subject of a PBS documentary, Petersen lives in McClellanville, South Carolina. A lifelong resident of the South Carolina Lowcountry, William P. Baldwin has worked as a commercial fisherman and as a house builder, but his "occupation of compulsion" is writing. The author or coauthor of ten books, Baldwin lives in McClellanville. A native of Charleston, South Carolina, Patty Fulcher has worked as an elementary school teacher and a medical researcher. Now retired, she assists her husband in his medical practice and Baldwin with writing projects. Fulcher also lives in McClellanville.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 7 customer reviews
The book is an easy read.
Conrad B. Senior
Throughout the book, the reader is gripped with the determination of Mr. Petersen as well as his endurance, ingenuity and particularly his sense of survival.
Carole Herdegen
It is an easy read and covers a lot of territory including two OSTAR races, the 1994 BOC Challenge and the 1998 Around Alone.
Sailing Fan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A sailor on November 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I read this book non-stop and I had to write a review. By way of full disclosure, I met Neal Petersen on November 3, 2005 and spent five days sailing with him on a passage from Connecticut to Bermuda. That time with him prompted the purchase and reading of this book. He is a fantastic guy with a truly inspiring story. The book recounts Neal's life story and struggle against the odds to reach his dream of racing a sail boat alone around the world. At every turn there are choices. Listen to the naysayers or pursue what appears to be an impossible dream. Throughout the story there are detractors and supporters. This book has drama, adventure, romance, and inspiration. This is a story not only about Neal's adventures sailing, but about how to live life to the fullest. I can't recommend this book highly enough!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sailing Fan on January 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover
If you are a fan of solo ocean sailing, you will enjoy this book. It is an easy read and covers a lot of territory including two OSTAR races, the 1994 BOC Challenge and the 1998 Around Alone. There are several well written accounts of near disaster at sea, such as being run down by a Russian freighter during one OSTAR race and a horrific storm just before rounding Cape Horn during the 1998 Around Alone. It is easy to understand why the author's boat was named "No Barriers". This is quite an inspiring story of survival and perserverance, especially given the fact that the author is a person of color and grew up in South Africa during the apartheid era. There are other trials and tribulations along the way as well that have nothing to do with sailing, but add greatly to the story and make this more than a good sailing novel.
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Format: Hardcover
"In life there are no barriers - only solutions." Call this positive statement a credo, a code, a slogan or a mantra. It is the one rule that dominates the life of its author, Neal Petersen.

I had the pleasure of being in an audience where Mr. Petersen happened to be the keynote speaker. An author and motivational presenter, he held the attention of all attendees, especially me.

Neal Petersen was born with a physical disability in South Africa during its apartheid years. As a child he was determined to overcome all adversities, a trait that not only guided him through life but also helped him stake his claim as the first black man to race a homemade boat single-handedly around the world.

In his book, "Journey of a Hope Merchant" and recipient of the 2005 National Outdoor Book Award, Mr. Petersen has the reader join him on his journey through life and particularly on this solo journey in the 1998-99 "Around Alone" yacht race. Throughout the book, the reader is gripped with the determination of Mr. Petersen as well as his endurance, ingenuity and particularly his sense of survival.

Right from the book's prologue by his wife, Darlene Kristi-Petersen, one becomes immediately tuned into the reality that Mr. Petersen is a man driven by his dreams. From an impoverished youth to achieving world recognition, two university degrees and author and coauthor of ten books, one can only picture Mr. Petersen as a consummate achiever.

As I write this review, I refrain from telling the story of Mr. Petersen's challenges at sea. That I'll save for the reader, as I will the many other chapters in his life where he continues to tell us the importance of dreaming. The importance he teaches us is that dreams are not simply for dreamers but are the roadmaps to be followed, challenged and achieved.
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Format: Hardcover
I would not call this a sailing book. Rather it is a story of a crippled boy from Capetown, who found freedom in swimming, diving, and sailing, and had a dream to sail around the world alone in the greatest of all races, inspired by these yachts and racing sailors who visited this port. The Author, who grew up in a middle class neighborhood in South Africa had to endure racism in his struggle to achieve his dream. Along the way, he found many sailors willing to help, and many other people who contributed to his life journey. It will melt you heart to read about the many wonderful people who helped Neal Accomplish this seemingly impoosible goal. It renewed my faith in the best of human nature.

This is the sort of book I'd give a young child for inspiration. It is proof that man can overcome most obstacles with only the most basic of tools--literacy. This is a lesson that should be taught to all children.

Neal makes his living as a motivational speaker. I finished the book, wanting to hear him speak. And I'd like to sail with him.

The book is an easy read. I found myself reading until 3 am and finished it the next day. I give this book 4 stars because it is not the sort of book I would re-read. It is not the sort of book I need to inspire myself. However, a good book to read once and then pass on to your friends.

The was one point in the book where I found myself gravely disappointed. I was saddened to read in Neals account that Brad Van Liew, one of this competitors, accused him of cheating by using his engine. Any competitor has a right to face fair competition and ask for an inquiry. If he proved it false then he should let the matter drop instead of whining about it. He also complained that Van Liew stole his sponsors.
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