In an effort to beat a speed record set in 1853, Wilson sailed his trimaran, Great American II, from San Francisco around Cape Horn and then to Boston. During this dangerous trip through some of the world's most treacherous seas, Rich and his partner/photographer, Bill Biewenga, linked the boat to classrooms and homes through cyberspace and weekly newspaper updates. Those who didn't share in the duo's journey will enjoy the stunning photographs and the fascinating description of the ten-week journey around half the world.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-A sailing adventure around Cape Horn with a different twist. In 1993, Rich Wilson and one crew member sailed the 54-foot trimaran Great American II from San Francisco to Boston with a dual purpose. First, they were racing against the 76-day record of the clipper ship Northern Light, which made the same journey in 1853. Secondly, the race had an educational mission; it was interactively linked via a weekly newspaper column to 10,000 classrooms, and students could come "on board" while Rich wrote a log and answered their questions on the Prodigy computer network. These questions and Rich's answers are inserted throughout the book, extending the text and giving a voice to the on-line participants. The lively, well-written account balances technical information with the thrill of adventure and is illustrated with dramatic full-color photographs. Though the journey is relatively uneventful (and yes, they do beat the record by six days), the chapter describing a 1990 attempt when they lost their boat and almost their lives is positively hair-raising. Books describing similar escapades tend to be shelf-sitters, but this one makes a real attempt at kid appeal and succeeds.-Caroline Ward, Nassau Library System, Uniondale, NY