Left for Dead: The Untold Story of the Tragic 1979 Fastnet Race

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A&C Black, 2007 - Fastnet Race - 186 pages
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The Fastnet Race is the world famous yacht race from the Isle of Wight to the Fastnet Rock off the southwest coast of Ireland and back. The race of 1979 began in perfect weather conditions but within 48 hours, the deadliest storm in the history of modern sailing struck off the south coast of Ireland. By the time it had passed, the havoc caused was immeasurable. Even more devastating, it had mercilessly taken the lives of fifteen sailors. It had been Nick Ward's childhood ambition to sail in the Fastnet Race, and after being asked to join the crew aboard the 30-foot yacht Grimalkin it was a dream come true. But then the storm hit. Grimalkin was capsized again and again, the skipper was lost overboard and after hours of struggle, three of the crew decided to abandon the boat for the liferaft. Nick and his fellow crewmember Gerry, both injured and unconscious, were left on the beleaguered yacht in the middle of the Irish Sea. Both were presumed dead, and were taken off the priority list for rescue. Gerry died a few hours later, and Nick was left to face the storm alone. Left for Dead is the tragic and inspirational story of Nick Ward's survival against all the odds. It is the story of an ordinary man who survived an extraordinary event. It was an experience which affected him so deeply that for over 25 years his story has remained untold - until now.
 

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Contents

Breaking the Silence
1
The Jewel in the Crown
5
Watches and Lighthouses
22
Still Waters
41
Ochre Sky
54
Off the Scale
72
Dark Alleys
83
Before Light After Dawn
91
Unmarked Time
161
Falling Forward
175
In My Minds Eye
184
Horizon to Horizon
196
Aftermath
213
Revisiting Grimalkin 26 years on
236
Epilogue 1 The Pact?
243
Epilogue 2 Never Say Never
261

Muddled Mind
108
Footprints in the Sand
118
Bloodtinged Red Roses
125
Dead or Alive?
142
Softly Softly Catchee Monkey
149
Appendix 1 Grimalkins Layout and Plans
274
Appendix 2 Fastnet Race 1979 Retirements and Finishers
276
Acknowledgements
286
The Authors
290
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Nick Ward was born in Hamble, and was taught to sail at the age of four. He has retained his love of sailing throughout his life. Initially a keen dinghy sailor, he worked in the marine trade for most of his career and delivered and raced yachts of all kinds. Nick still lives in Hamble today, with his wife Christine and two children. Sinead O'Brien is an award-winning documentary maker and dramatist. She lives in Dublin with her daughter Eve.

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