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

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

by Miles Hordern

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

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781466871960
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 05/20/2014
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 327,419
File size: 603 KB

About the Author

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.

Read an Excerpt

The poet Derek Walcott wrote, “The sea is history.” In the Southern Ocean I found it hard to locate myself in any meaningful concept of the present. It was the past that was often the clearest thing in view. On the ocean I feel that I am part of history. I liken the water to a vast, unwieldy tapestry wrapped around most of the earth. The tapestry is made up of thousands of separate strands. Some strands are gold thread, some silk, some cotton, some bold and strong, others frayed and tatty. The ocean tapestry has been woven by everyone who has ever been here, but also by those who simply looked and wondered. It is an inclusive cloth. And just a few of those strands are mine, bound up with Greek cosmologers, medieval mapmakers, poets, and whalers. Along the coastline the cloth is thick and heavy, in places stiff with understanding. But on the furthest oceans of the south it is threadbare, sometimes just a few lonely strands and nothing in-between.
---from Sailing the Pacific

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