Left to Die
Most sailors know of the terrible 1979 Fastnet Race and its horrific storm and the loss of 15 lives. This account is the un-put-downable gripping story of physical and emotional survival of crew member Nick Ward when abandoned on board by escaping crew, with a possible mystery still hanging over the truth. I found it doubly interesting since I’d heard Charles Whittam’s talk on taking part in the Fastnet this year and how, now, crews have to have completed qualifying races and yachts’ equipment is heavily specified and a digital tracker is placed on board that one can access on line during the race, as I’m sure many know. I realised that I had heard part of an interview on the radio given by Nick Ward in, I suppose, 2004 when this book first came out. What he said then didn’t seem to totally tally with his written account, and what he said about the safety lines after pulling himself back on board doesn’t tally with the other crews’ account but I suspect that’s diplomatically left vague. So I’m glad I picked out this book to review. It’s obviously not a work of great literature, but to club members it ought to be fascinating.