Raised in the 1960s in the village of Hamble on England's south coast, Ward was given sailing lessons by his father by the age of four and quickly grew to love the water. Given that Hamble was near the launching point for a 600-mile race called Fastnet, it's little surprise that come August of 1979 Ward leaped at the opportunity to take part. He describes the race, which killed 15 racers and sank five boats. He tells of what happened when his craft, the Grimalkin, got caught in a vicious storm that blew in across the Atlantic and caught the racing boats in the Irish Sea. The 50-foot waves and 80-knot winds capsized many boats, including his own, which was abandoned by most of its crew. Remaining on board was a dead shipmate and Ward, who tried to maintain his sanity as the storm raged on. That Ward, who had suffered a brain hemorrhage as a teenager and was taking antiseizure medication, survived such a devastating storm at all is something near miraculous. Unfortunately, with the exception of some exuberantly rhapsodic passages near the start on his love for the art of sailing, Ward's book (written with documentary filmmaker O'Brien) is a stiff affair. (Aug.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Left for Dead: Surviving the Deadliest Storm in Modern Sailing Historyby Nick Ward
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In August of 1979, Nick Ward began the six-hundred-mile course of the UKs Fastnet Race with perfect weather. Within forty-eight hours, the deadliest storm in the history of modern sailing had blasted through the Irish Sea, throwing one of the worlds most prestigious races into bedlam and taking the lives of fifteen sailors. Wards boat, Grimalkin, was capsized again and again, and the skipper lost overboard; after hours of struggle, three of the crew fled the boat for the liferaft, and Nick was left alone to face down a storm that has become legendary among sailors and racing fans alike. Left for Dead is Nick Wards harrowing and inspirational memoir of how he survived that dreadful night-the untold true story of an accident that has intrigued lovers of the sea for almost thirty years.
In this gripping account, Ward finally breaks his multiyear silence and shares his story of what happened to him on his boat Grimalkinduring the storms that beset England's Fastnet sailing race in 1979. The race started off in near-perfect conditions on August 11 for the 303 yachts participating. The yachts left Cowes, England, to round Fastnet Rock off Ireland's southwest coast and sail back to Plymouth. Two days later, a storm of near-hurricane force left 15 dead, caused 24 crews to abandon ship, sank five yachts, and required the rescue of 136 sailors in the largest peacetime sea-and-air operation ever. Ward was on the 30-foot Grimalkinwith five other men. After being repeatedly battered by blow-downs (waves that knock over a boat 90 to 180 degrees), most of the crew decided to abandon ship-a controversial decision because Ward and another sailor, Gerry Winks, were left on the Grimalkin, presumed dead. Both, in fact, were alive. Ward survived another 14 hours, resuscitating Winks (who eventually died) before being rescued. Documentary filmmaker and author O'Brien persuaded Ward to work with her on this book. Recommended for all public libraries, especially those where Sebastian Junger's The Perfect Storm, Pete Goss's Close to the Wind, and John Rousmaniere's Fastnet, Force 10are popular. (16-page color insert/photos not seen.)
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Meet the Author
Nick Ward is the survivor of one of the worst sailing accidents of modern history. He lives in Hamble, England, with his wife. They have one son. Sinead OBrien is an author and documentary filmmaker living in Dublin.
Nick Ward was born in Hamble, and was taught to sail at the age of four. He has retained his love of sailing throughout his life. He worked in the marine trade for most of his career and delivered and raced yachts of all kinds. Nick still lives in Hamble today, with his wife Christine and two children.
Sinead OBrien is an award-winning documentary maker and dramatist. She lives in Dublin with her daughter Eve.
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