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A Voyage for Madmen

4.22  ·  Rating Details ·  2,073 Ratings  ·  170 Reviews
In 1968, nine sailors set off on the most daring race ever held: to single-handedly circumnavigate the globe nonstop. It was a feat that had never been accomplished and one that would forever change the face of sailing. Ten months later, only one of the nine men would cross the finish line and earn fame, wealth, and glory. For the others, the reward was madness, failure, a ...more
Paperback, 298 pages
Published June 4th 2002 by Harper Perennial (first published June 1st 1997)
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A Voyage for Madmen is the true story of a eclectic and diverse group of men who found themselves in an inadvertent race to become the first person to sail non-stop around the world. The story is amazing. The group consisted of experienced sailors and those who had almost no sailing experience whatsoever. If that blows your mind as it did mine, it gets worse: one of the men would try to hoodwink the world while never leaving the Atlantic's nearly unbelievable. Death, catastrophe, and ...more
Nov 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Die "Vendée Globe" gilt als die härteste Segelregatta der Welt. Dabei können sich die Sportler heutzutage auf GPS, Hightech-Yachten und gute Kommunikation verlassen.

Davon konnten die Teilnehmer des "Sunday Times Golden Globe Race", der ersten Nonstop Einhand-Weltumsegelungsregatta im Jahr 1968, nur träumen.

In "A Voyage for Madmen" rekonstruiert Peter Nichols die Geschichte von neun Männern, die auszogen das letzte große Abenteuer der Erde zu erleben.

Doch zehn Monate später sollte nur einer von
Jun 22, 2012 T.E. rated it really liked it
I read this book because
A) a teacher told me it was his favorite, and I always read teachers' favorites
and B) because I was sorely lacking something to read at the moment.

I knew NOTHING about sailing. I still know nothing about sailing, nor do I plan to change this state of events anytime soon. So, when I first checked it out from the library, I fully expected to be hopelessly bored within the first twenty pages, if not bogged down by the sheer nautical terminology, of which I was so ignorant.
Peter Nichols has put together a great little book on the 1969 Golden Globe race to be the first man to single-handedly circumnavigate the globe without stopping in any ports along the way. "A Voyage for Madmen" gives a great overview of the race and varying personalities involved -- from professional maritime men to vagabond sailors to one contestant who didn't even learn to sail until he was on his way. Only one person completed the race.

I've read other accounts of the race (including the exce
David Campbell
Apr 30, 2015 David Campbell rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
An wonderfully well written book about the world's first solo circumnavigational sailboat race, from England, around both capes, and back again. Held in 1968, it truly was the ultimate test of will, skill, and nerves. This book adeptly chronicles the contestants, the preparations, and the challenges that they all faced in their attempt to survive... much less win the race. Told by a sailor who has experienced the perils of the ocean first hand, it leaves the reader with an understanding of the t ...more
Angela Callister
Jul 04, 2014 Angela Callister rated it it was amazing
Wow, this is a great read! Thrilling story, well-written and a real eye-opener regarding the personalities of individuals who take it upon themselves to embark on long journeys as lone yachtsmen. Happy to lose an eye if it means that you win a boat race? One of these competitors is. Madmen indeed!

Oh, and it's a true story.

For some of the competitors, the story is of how they met their deaths and for that reason, each of the dramas carries an extra poignancy. The author is a yachtsman himself a
Sep 09, 2016 Stacy rated it it was amazing
It's a fascinating study of personality and endurance and dealing with psychological struggles. And I really like sailing. I enjoyed this book a lot.
My one criticism is that it was hard to keep track of who was who. The author included a brief bio of each of the nine sailors in the beginning to help, which I kept flipping back to for the first half of the book. Nonetheless I felt like it would help to read it again when I was finished, once I had figured out who all the players were.
Apr 07, 2014 Christian rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this book but being fairly familiar with the story of the famous Golden Globe race after reading the individual books from or about Crowhurst, Moitessier and Knox-Johnson I found some parts of the book not that interesting anymore as much the story telling came from parts of these earlier books. If you completely new to the topic, you will likely enjoy this book as it is well written and a fascinating story about truly extraordinary men. If you did read the other books already. ...more
Jon Roig
Aug 09, 2014 Jon Roig rated it it was amazing
It's crazy to think about but when the nine men who attempted to sail solo and unsupported around the world for the 1968 Golden Globe race headed out to sea, they might has well have been voyaging to the moon. This is the era before GPS, 24/7 weather and instant news and contact with the outside world was minimal. In one case, his radio broken, the eventual winner sailed alone for five entire months without talking to another person.

I devoured this book in 24 hours. I'd caught the "Deep Water"
Linda Hall
Sep 29, 2011 Linda Hall rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
One of my hobbies is reading true life stories about real sailors on real life sailing adventures. I sail myself - we have a 34' sailboat that we basically move aboard in the summer - but I'm the first to admit that I'm a 'fair weather sailor.' So, this whole thing is vicarious. Even if you're not a sailor, I think you' enjoy Voyage for Madmen. Very readable. Very scary. Very well-written.
Aug 28, 2015 Sloane rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Martha Tarafa
Jan 07, 2016 Martha Tarafa rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written account of a historic round the world solo, non-stop, sailing race. This is an exhilarating story of adventure and the human spirit. I did not want this book to end.
Duncan Cameron
Mar 21, 2014 Duncan Cameron rated it really liked it
As always I read a few reviews before buying.
Having read a few seafaring tales (thor heyerdahl, ellen mcarthur etc)
I was right up for this one, and it was superb, albeit without the
taste of salt.

For me, any tale about being at sea has to capture the
sound of the void, not quite a vacuum, but scarier.
It has to make me fear the deep, and horrendous weather where everything and anything can drag everything or anything to total annihilation.

OK over the top, but you know what i'm saying.

In my view P
Bookworm (Mina Searle)
This book is well written and has a lot of depth to it but I found it hard going. It has got lots of good reviews which its worthy off. I wanted to read this to find out more about Donald Crowhurst but actually this wasn't covered in as much detail as I thought it would be.

I felt the book took a long time to get going with lots of build up and background. I found it hard to keep track. it would have been good to have more pictures.. I also thought it ended abruptly (My kindle kindly informed me
Mar 07, 2012 TC rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Recently, chatting to a friend in the pub, I heard the story of sailor Donald Crowhurst for the first time. Said friend loaned me the DVD Deep Water which tells his story using vintage footage and contemporary interviews. It a tragic but fascinating story. When I mentioned it to author Mark Chisnell, who revealed another brilliant true story with its roots in sailing in The Fulcrum Files, he recommended this book to me.

The 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe race was open to all-comers. Two titles we
Mar 10, 2011 Liz rated it really liked it
This book was freaking awesome. I know nothing about yachting or sailing and still was absolutely enthralled by the story. It's the best character development I've ever seen in a non-fiction, non-memoir read, and Nichols manages to bring to life not one fascinating character but nine of them.

The writing is in turns technical and poetic; Nichols never strays too far from the reality of the seas and what all men had to physically and mentally achieve to endure their preparations and sails, but as
Feb 06, 2013 Sharon rated it really liked it
A voyage for madmen
By Peter Nichols.
I really enjoyed the Tale. It did not focus on technique or personality or Ability or any mundane facts involving the race.
I was surprised by the voice the author managed to create in my head. I enjoyed how Peter wove a web of intrigue of how, why and when, what a battle he must have had sorting through all the facts, you could tell he was smitten by the story himself, or he could never have pulled off such a task . He created a fabulous book that told an inte
Feb 16, 2008 Diane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of Adventure & weekend sailors
Recommended to Diane by: An accidental find
Shelves: true-tales
I picked this paperback up in a Minneapolis airport book shop, desperate for something to read at night during an upcoming hiking trip. Little did I know how riveting the tale would be, nor could I have guessed that I'd laugh aloud in a few spots.

Imagine going out on the ocean in a little boat, maybe one you built and definitely one you outfitted yourself. Maybe a little scary but you'd have GPS and satellite 'phones and top notch equipment - right? Now imagine that it's 1968. You're using a co
Artnoose Noose
Jul 12, 2008 Artnoose Noose rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Artnoose by: Moxie Marlinspike
This is a gripping history of the 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe circumnavigational sailing race, in which nine men attempted to be the first on record to sail around the world single-handedly and without stopping or receiving any assistance en route. Only one of the men actually completed the race.

Being alone at sea for so many grueling months while facing life-threatening situations seems like such a huge endeavor that only a maniac would attempt it, and there often was some madness involved.
May 11, 2010 Tim rated it really liked it
From a continent's beaches the ocean stretches beyond the edge of sight, but only to one horizon. Waves pound the shore but the ocean's terrors lurk quietly distant. For millenia men have plied the seas in all manner of craft for all sorts of reasons, risking life, limb, and reason on journeys far from shore. This book recounts nine such journeys staged as a race sponsored by a news organization for the entertainment of the shore-bound popular imagination. Throughout these parallel accounts of s ...more
Rusty Henrichsen
Sep 16, 2009 Rusty Henrichsen rated it really liked it
An amazing book - the story of an around the world sailing race inspired by Sir Francis Chichester's solo circumnavigation in 1966-1967. Nine men began the journey and Nichols tells a great story based mainly on their logs of their individual struggles, perils and thoughts. It's the thoughts that are so fascinating - from euphoria to despair and all points in between.

The reasons for entering the race are almost as interesting as the tales of the sailing. One man didn't even know how to sail befo
Robert Goodwin
May 29, 2013 Robert Goodwin rated it really liked it
In 1968 the Sunday Times Golden Globe race was contrived. In fact there we a number of people already working on achieving the first solo non-stop circumnavigation of the world, and they (the ST) tempted a few more ill prepared chancers into the race. The book tells the story of the characters and their preparations, their choice of boats and the stories of their separate voyages. The real winner refused to collect the prize (moitessier) and carried on sailing to Hawaii. Inevitably the book is o ...more
Edward H. Busse, III
Mar 11, 2013 Edward H. Busse, III rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-owned
I really liked this book. I was basically familiar with the story because I had seen the movie/documentary DEEP WATER that covered the same story. Mr. Nichols' writing was excellent - he gave you just enough detail to understand the story but didn't bore you with too many details. I especially liked how he conveyed the physical, mental and emotional burden associated with single-handed sailing…especially the demands with single-handedly circumnavigating the globe. The sailors endured extremely h ...more
Alisha Bennett
Oct 05, 2012 Alisha Bennett rated it liked it
Nichols gives a well detailed account of a fascinating adventure that I didn't want to end. My only quibble was the amount of sea and boating knowledge required to fully understand some of the challenges the racers faced. Perhaps the author didn't want to expand the script too much with tedious details but I would have found a more thorough explanation of basic boating terms for landlubbers helpful. Overall however this in no way detracts from the book. In fact, I was disappointed when it ended ...more
Mar 30, 2009 Laurie rated it liked it
I enjoyed the first few chapters of this book. In fact, I have wanted to travel to India for years, and the first few chapters inspired me to finally book my trip. I knew my only chance of going to India in the next couple years would be to go by myself. I was slightly fearful of being alone in a foreign land, but this book turned me around. I realized that if 20-somethings could travel around the world via the seas and completely by themselves, with the possibility of confronting any number of ...more
Kate Zurawski
Nov 10, 2015 Kate Zurawski rated it it was ok
so so so tough to get through but very worth it to be able to talk to my Dad about it. the backgrounds of "why" and "sponsors" and "how the boat got built" really did not interest me but once they were out at sea I found it very interesting and I became invested. The end of the book was definitely better than the beginning, but I would not recommend this to anyone who doesn't have some kind of interest or minimal background knowledge in sailing. It would be way too confusing.
Peter Salva
Jul 01, 2015 Peter Salva rated it it was amazing
I've never been extremely interested in the literature of the sea, but this nonfiction piece stands up as one of the most riveting bits of adventure writing I've ever seen. It has certainly sparked a new interest for me into the life of the lone adventurer. I was glued to this story, the hardships, and the devastation, as well as the glorious successes of these 9 men as they raced around the round by sea. This is one of the most interesting books I've read this year.
Nov 13, 2015 Don rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travelling, ships
This is a unexpectedly brilliant book. I really enjoyed it, even though I have never set foot on a sailing vessel, and have little inclination to do so.

It is written in a journalistic style that carries the reader through the complexities of the tale; it eventually becomes as gripping as a thriller. The author has clearly done a lot of research, and has the gift of turning his material into a series of 'fly-on-the-wall' descriptions of the experiences of the various solo yachtsmen, way out in t
Jun 01, 2016 Colin rated it it was amazing
A classic tale with a wide cast of characters, Some heroic, others desperate and crazy, in a race pitted more against themselves than each other as they faced the harrowing challenges of extreme conditions and prolonged solitude. The boats, like the men, so different in their design and construction seemed to crumble or hold fast according to the resolve of their captains, accentuating the inexplicable connection between man and the wild ocean.
I saw a documentary a few months ago called "Deep Water". This book provides much more fascinating details about the same story -- the first attempt at non-stop circumnavigating the world by a lone sailor. Nine men made the attempt. It was the late 60's and most Americans were too wrapped up in Vietnam era worries to really notice this event. But in England (where it started and ended), it was huge! In spite of the fact that the entrants weren't really in it for the competition, the British pres ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: ISBN: 9780060957032 2 16 May 19, 2013 01:05PM  
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