A Race Too Far

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Random House, Apr 2, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 320 pages
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The true story of the tragic round-the-world yacht race - now the subject of The Mercy, starring Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz

In 1968, the Sunday Times organised the Golden Globe race–an incredible test of endurance never before attempted–a round the world yacht race that must be completed single-handed and non-stop.

This remarkable challenge inspired those daring to enter–with or without sailing experience. A Race Too Far is the story of how the race unfolded, and how it became a tragedy for many involved.

Of the nine sailors who started the race, four realised the madness of the undertaking and pulled out within weeks. The remaining five each have their own remarkable story. Chay Blyth, fresh from rowing the Atlantic with John Ridgway, had no sailing experience but managed to sail round the Cape of Good Hope before retiring. Nigel Tetley sank while in the lead with 1,100 nautical miles to go, surviving but dying in tragic circumstances two years later. Donald Crowhurst began showing signs of mental illness and tried to fake a round the world voyage. His boat was discovered adrift in an apparent suicide, but his body was never found. Bernard Moitessier abandoned the race and carried on to Tahiti, where he settled and fathered a child despite having a wife and family in Paris. Robin Knox-Johnston was the only one to complete the race.

Chris Eakin recreates the drama of the epic race, talking to all those touched by the Golden Globe: the survivors, the widows and the children of those who died. It is a book that both evokes the primary wonder of the adventure itself and reflects on what it has come to mean to both those involved and the rest of us in the forty years since.

 

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Contents

Acknowledgements
i
Race On
56
Bottom of Africa
83
Late Starters
111
Deep South
137
Turn Left for Home
170
Down to Three
201
Duel for Fastest Time
219
A House Besieged
245
Sinking Feelings
261
Forty Years On
298
Map of positions on 311st October 1968
316
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Chris Eakin is a qualified Yachtmaster and sails regularly in the English Channel with his wife. He has been a journalist on newspapers and with the BBC for more than 35 years. He lives in London.

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