Sailing the Pacific: A Voyage Across the Longest Stretch of Water on Earth, and a Journey into Its Past

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St. Martin's Publishing Group, May 20, 2014 - Travel - 256 pages

Solo sailors are widely known to be a breed apart, and here's an unforgettable book that shows just how wide a berth they give themselves from the crowds. Several years ago, Miles Hordern, a schoolteacher by training---though he had run away to sea a few times before---set sail on a twenty-eight-foot boat from New Zealand to South America, the largest uninterrupted stretch of water on earth, and into the dominion of icebergs, cyclones, and swells of monumental proportions. The trip would take him through the fjords of Patagonia, one of the last uncharted areas in the world, then north on the Peru Current before he began his homeward voyage.

Sailing the Pacific recounts that trip in prose so vivid you can almost feel the spray sting your face and the deck heave beneath your feet. Here is prose so hawser-taut that it takes you back to Conrad, Melville, and Poe, indeed all those writers whose works about the bounding main have launched countless imaginations. Hordern pauses to consider those who have gone before him, recounting the stories that have given life to this lonely and magisterial part of the world. Writers, adventurers, fictional characters, cartographers, doomed voyages from history's pages—from the Whaleship S.S. Essex to the HMS Bounty: the South Pacific drew them all, and in their way they left mark on its vast surface.

Part sailing yarn, part adventure story, part homage to an unending but beckoning horizon, Sailing the Pacific will appeal to the sailor in each one of us, whatever the way we choose to answer the ocean's call.

 

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SAILING THE PACIFIC: A Voyage Across the Longest Stretch of Water on Earth, and a Journey into Its Past

User Review  - Kirkus

A British-born newcomer describes his pleasant, single-handed sailing mooch across an unequalled expanse of water, the Southern Ocean between New Zealand and South America.Hordern's remarkably ... Read full review

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User Review  - martyb - LibraryThing

This account details more of the unpleasant, i.e. realistic aspects of sailing. For example, he tells of how his skin dries out and acquires ridges of salt that trail over his body. He writes of the ... Read full review

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About the author (2014)

Miles Hordern grew up in a landlocked part of England. He first ran away to sea aged nineteen, when he tried to sail a sixteen-foot open boat to Africa. His first Pacific voyage involved working as a deckhand-cum-nanny on a fifty-foot Australian ketch sailing between Tahiti and Brisbane. He now lives on Waiheke Island, New Zealand, where he continues to sail. Sailing the Pacific is his first book.

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