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.