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The Ship and the Storm Hardcover – October 16, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

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In October 1998, a wayward tropical storm blossomed into one of the most powerful hurricanes in modern history. When it finished its devastating course throughout the Caribbean, Hurricane Mitch had killed thousands of people, left hundreds of thousands more homeless, and destroyed whole towns. Journalist Jim Carrier turns up a small but telling incident: the disappearance of a 282-foot schooner called the Fantome. Guided by a young but accomplished English captain and manned by seasoned West Indian sailors, the cruise ship put into port in Belize to discharge its passengers, then set out to sea in an attempt to outrace a storm that, defying expectation, changed its course and in the end sent the Fantome and its crew beneath the waves. All that was terrible enough; added to it was the legal battle that awaited the crew's survivors, one that hung over the disaster "like a poisonous cloud." Following the Fantome's course hour by hour, Carrier covers all aspects of the incident thoroughly and sympathetically. His book makes a compelling companion to Sebastian Junger's The Perfect Storm as a fine reconstruction of a maritime tragedy, one that does honor to the unfortunate dead. --Gregory McNamee --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

In October 1998, Hurricane Mitch terrorized the Caribbean and Central America, leaving thousands dead, causing billions of dollars in damage, and crippling countries. In the midst of it struggled Guyan March, captain of the Fantome, the largest ship owned by Windjammer Barefoot Cruises. Having determined the Fantome was too big to seek safe harbor in any of the nearby ports, Windjammer and Captain March made the last-minute decision to take the ship out to sea in an attempt to get out of the storm's path. Carrier's account of this desperate race traces the development and erratic path of the storm as it consistently defied all predictions, relates the communications between Windjammer and the Fantome as they ran out of options, and pieces together what must have been the last few minutes of the ship and of the crew's lives. The heart-wrenching testimony of the crew's families, horror stories of survivors on land, and scientific background from the meteorologists provide a thoroughly detailed context in which to view one of the worst hurricanes in recorded history. Gavin Quinn
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: International Marine; 1 edition (October 16, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 007135526X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071355261
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #840,458 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

An award-winning journalist, civil rights activist and filmmaker, Jim Carrier has written eleven books, produced documentaries on civil rights and the banjo, been published in the National Geographic and the New York Times, written Denver Post series on the legacy of the atomic bomb and the Marlboro Man, and produced multimedia projects for the Southern Poverty Law Center. He has roamed by Jeep through the American West and by sailboat across the Atlantic and Mediterranean. His reporting has been broadcast on NPR, PBS and included in Best American Science and Nature Writing 2010.

Jim's reporting from the West, as the Rocky Mountain Ranger, took him through 500,000 miles, 7,665 sunsets and 87 pairs of Levis. In 1997, he bought a sailboat, named it Ranger, and set out to sail the Pacific. He diverted to Alabama because of a hate crime against a black man. Volunteering at the Southern Poverty Law Center, he wrote Ten Ways to Fight Hate, a community guide distributed to one million officials and human rights activists. Carrier developed Tolerance.org, which won two Webbys for activist Web sites and produced the film, Faces in the Water, which shows every 30 minutes at the Civil Rights Memorial.

Now based in Madison, WI, his freelance work focuses on medical science, environmental justice and human rights. A contributing editor at Cruising World, a science producer at WORT-FM, and a stringer at the New York Times, Carrier is currently at work on a forensic memoir about the gut, and a film about Hank Williams fans who gather at his grave in Alabama on New Year's Eve. He and his daughter, Amy, descend from Martha Carrier who was hanged as a witch in Salem, Massachusetts. His wife, Trish O'Kane, is a doctoral candidate in environmental studies.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 23, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book tells the story of the Sailing Vessel Fantome, and its final encounter with Hurricane Mitch. This story is more compelling than Perfect Storm, in that much of what happened to the ship and crew is known. The majesty of tall ships adds to the dramatic atmosphere in a way a fishing boat cannot. This thoroughly researched and documented story is more meaningful and interesting than Isaac's Storm because of the timeliness and contemporary interviews.
This is a story of the most basic man versus nature. It is easier to follow this storm than the one in Perfect Storm. Hurricane Mitch was followed by the modern world from its earliest moments to its predatory fury over Honduras.
Jim Carrier has carefully researched and told the story of the Fantome and her history. He has recounted the last month of the ship and its aftermath without any of the sensationalism and second-guessing that was common in so much of the press and in magazine articles afterwards. And finally, he applied "Forensic Journalism" to draw some conclusions about those moments that we don't know what happened. This is a story that is a fine addition to anyone with an interest in stories of the sea and human drama. Of course, those who have been fortunate to sail on the tall ships will insist on owning this book.
As I read this book, I was sailing aboard the S/V Polynesia, another ship of the Windjammer/Barefoot Fleet. To my east, two hurricanes were on the prowl. This added to the chill of reading this book. I knew the Fantome and her crew, and they have a permanent place in my heart. I followed the news closely and shared it with others. I imagined myself in Captain Guyan's place, and thought of the decisions that he would have made.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By L. Alper on December 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
In "The Ship & the Storm" Jim Carrier has given us a valuable memorial to a tragic loss of life. Additionally, it is an exciting page turner which vividly describes the experience of a killer hurricane.
Hurricane Mitch devastated Honduras in October 1998. As readers discover in this book, it also amazed seasoned hurricane researchers with it's unpredictability & bizarre readings. In 24 hours Mitch exploded from being a tropical wave that weathermen were writing off as it weakened, into a killer Category 4 hurricane that would become one of the strongest ever recorded.
Meanwhile, off the coast of Honduras, Windjammer Cruises' flag ship "the Fantome" was herding it's flock of vacationers thru the Bay Islands of Honduras. The Captain, Guyan Marsh, was the "golden boy" of Windjammer, beloved by both crew & passengers. Jim Carrier introduces us to Guyan & the crewmembers. We come to know them as individuals & care about them. We also get to experience Fantome's last 2 cruises day by day thru the eyes of her passengers.
"The Ship & the Storm" builds suspense inexorably, alternating between the Fantome & the hurricane watchers in Miami. When Mitch & Fantome do meet, the descriptive passages of what the experience of a Category 5 hurricane is like will terrify you.
The author is extremely fair, refusing to assign blame for the loss of the Fantome to anyone. The most valuable aspect of "The Ship & the Sea" tho, is as a memorial to the wonderful crew of Fantome. Guyan Marsh & his men sound like exceptional people, & the world is a lesser place for having lost them.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Christopher T Fisher on November 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover
It's hard to be unbiased having honeymooned on the Fantome, but I think most readers will agree - this is a good book. For me, it brought some closure to the story that I have followed since first hearing that Fantome was missing. I had searched the internet, the wire services, Windjammer's chat room for news as the drama of Mitch unfolded. Like flotsam and jetsam of the wreckage, news of Fantome's demise came in incomplete pieces. This book assembles these pieces from several perspectives and does an admirable job of illuminating Fantome's storm shrouded fate. Jammers will certainly enjoy the book, but Carrier's book transcends the Windjammer audience. Carrier has crafted a compelling story illustrating the irony of judgement based on the advanced technology of hurricane forecasting to pilot an anachronistic tall ship into the eye of one of the century's most destructive storms.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 20, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Carrier's book is well-written, blending the track of Hurricane Mitch with the track of the doomed Fantome. Carrier makes the Windjammer crew and company come alive, but at the same time reminds us that the larger tragedy took place on the mainland (Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala) where more than 20,000 lost their lives.
Carrier doesn't really point fingers, nor does he totally exonerate the Windjammer company in the tragedy (old, underpowered ship, plus questionable decision-making in starting a cruise with a hurricane lurking nearby).
In the manner of the best reporting, he lets readers come to their own conclusions. As a passenger on Windjammer ships myself (but not the Fantome), I realized how well he captured the essence of a Windjammer cruise without ever having been on one. This made me trust his reporting on the other matters more.
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