book review - left for dead

Book Review – Left for Dead by Nick Ward

Book Review – Left for Dead by Nick Ward, the 1979 Fastnet Race and one man’s epic story of survival.

Published by A & C Black Publishers Ltd; 2nd Revised edition (6 Sep 2010)

ISBN: 978-1408128169

This book review – Left for Dead by Nick Ward, tells the account of one crewman who survived the Fastnet Race of 1979, in quite appalling weather conditions. The interest comes from the fact that six started out on the Nicholson Yacht Grimalkin and four survived. Three having left two crew behind on the yacht, when they launched the life raft and the sixth, the skipper, having been washed away presumed drowned.  So you now have two crew “left for dead”.

A book like this can be reviewed at many levels and a simple Google search will source untold reviews and subsequent comments, not all supportive, so what can I add? The book was well-reviewed and went on to be listed for literary prizes, not a complete dud.

As a yacht person with a Nicholson, I have a keen interest but do read this book for the human interest. The story is well told, gripping even, and carries you along so I read it in less than a day.  The opening is gentle and the detail of the storm vivid.  Nick Ward the surviving author, made notes in his hospital bed and I thought the account was brilliantly written even after 25 years, freshness coming from those notes, we hope.  Although it is Nick telling his story, with his honesty, there is another side to this story from the crew that left him for dead!  The writing style means you are on the boat, with the chaos aboard, the resilience of Nick, the near-death experience and it’s very uncomfortable.  Nick raised his demons and writes about them, has about twenty hours of being bounced around in a sinking yacht with a dead friend to talk to, to imagine all sorts of hostility to his life raft escapees. We can imagine his loneliness, we can also stop and think about how we would cope. What we learn is that the demons are not really resolved, that others recalled events in other ways. The crew included young men in an era when Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was not as commonly mentioned as it is today.  I think we get a rare insight into the human mind, frailty and strength in this book. Oh, and it’s a sort of love story as Nick’s wife is his rock, not the Fastnet.
Now to tie down my floorboards, put the can opener on a string and make sure I have an emergency VHF aerial!  A Great read in my book.

book review - left for dead

Book Review – Left for Dead by Nick Ward was reviewed by Lovesail member Flushing.

If you enjoyed this book review – Left for Dead, then you may like to read Sailing into the Abyss by Bridget Lane or Love with a Chance of Drowning by Torre DeRoche


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