Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Sailing the Pacific

Sailing the Pacific

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

Miles Hordern

St. Martin's Press




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.


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...


Praise for Sailing the Pacific

“Hordern writes vividly about the rhythms and sighs of life afloat, and about a landscape composed not of immovable objects but of ever-shifting wind and water.” —Daily Telegraph

“As well as an enthralling adventure, the book chronicles an inner journey of self-discovery. Hordern captures the thrill, romance, and anxieties of ocean sailing...a highly readable book by a gifted new writer. Don't miss it.” —Yachting magazine

“Not unlike Conrad, Hordern demonstrates that a sense of superfluousness often felt by the adventurous modern traveler can be---at great personal risk---transmuted into a kind of physical essentialism by excluding the rest of humanity and testing oneself, against oneself, in extremis.” —Times Literary Supplement

“Full of humor and historical insight, this book has the toughness of the classic survivor. It's the next best thing to actually going yourself.” —Global Adventure

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Miles Hordern

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.

Miles Hordern

Miles Hordern

From the Publisher

St. Martin's Press

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