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A Voyage for Madmen

4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  1,299 ratings  ·  135 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,304)
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T.E.
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.
...more
Amerynth
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
...more
Christian
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
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"
...more
Linda Hall
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.
Angela Callister
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
...more
Duncan Cameron
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
...more
TC
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
...more
Liz
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
...more
Sharon
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
...more
Diane
Feb 16, 2008 Diane rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
...more
Artnoose Noose
Jul 12, 2008 Artnoose Noose rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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.
...more
Tim
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
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
...more
Robert Goodwin
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
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
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
Laurie
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
R_
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
Frank Bowley
I great book. I had read Robin Knox-Johnson's own story of his voyage around the world. In many ways this is a better book. By covering all nine people who begin the race, and providing a common theme of the inner journey compelling these people to attempt the first solo round the world voyage, this story was much richer. This book also covered the strange personalities of some of the sailors. It was well written add well.
Robin
I feel covered in salt water after reading A Voyage for Madmen. A true account of the Golden Globe sailboat race in 1968 is masterfully told in this exciting book. Nine competitors raced to be the first to circumnavigate the globe, solo and nonstop, on a sailboat. There is a section on preparation and the designs of the nine very different vessels. The impact on the lives of the nine men is astounding.
Xanthi
I had watched a documentary about this race, and particularly about Donald Crowhurst, so I had some idea of what to expect from this book. It was a well written account of the race and its competitors - from what they experienced, physically and mentally during the race. As I was reading it, I could appreciate the complexity of the story, from the author's point of view - trying to account for all the competitors and their experiences, placed in some sort of chronological order must have been no ...more
Philski
Excellent book! Peter does a good job of providing background of the individual men who raced, does a good job of providing 'color commentary' of the race with accounts in parallel but in big enough chunks / topically organized so you brain isn't constantly wracking who-did-what, and then some followup on the survivors. Great read if you are interested in sailing, extreme races, etc.
Oyster
In 1968, nine sailors conceived an idea nearly as crazy as flying to the moon: circumnavigating the globe nonstop and solo. With nothing but rudimentary equipment and their wits, they set out on one of the more extraordinary yacht races in history. Learn what happens in Nichols’ addicting account.
Moxie Marlinspike
Jan 19, 2008 Moxie Marlinspike rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anarchist castaways and pirate well-wishers
This is the story of the 1968 Golden Globe race, which was possibly the craziest sailing race of all time. It was the first around the world non-stop single-handed sailing race in history, and the person to win would also be the first to have ever completed the task. It was, in essence, a voyage for madmen.

Peter Nichols is one of my favorite sailing authors, and what really struck me about this book was the sense of passion and inspiration that he obviously draws from characters in the story. A
...more
Bruce
A fine retelling of a single handed yacht race around the world. Sometimes a bit slow, the author weaves the stories of the nine competitors into alternate chapters. The motives of each vary as does their preparation and experience. Starting at different times the sailors were never in sight of each other, keeping track of their progress by shortwave radio, messages from their sponsors and the Sunday Times of London. The winner would be a national hero which added to the drama. In a race like th ...more
Betsy
Good book made better by the discovery (thanks Mike!) of a documentary! They were madmen with a gene for adventure that not many have and that is hard to fathom. The book gets very caught up in the machinations of sailing which made my eyes glaze over a bit but I muddled through those parts.
Fiona Squires
This is the true story of the incident packed Sunday Times Golden Globe race to be the first person to circumnavigate the globe non-stop and singlehanded.

Nichols has a gift of a subject with strong characters facing life or death situations. He uses his sailing knowledge enough to explain what happened but does not go so much into sailing jargon that non sailors would be put off.

Generally he concentrates on each of the sailors in turn as they plot their courses round the world and face up to the
...more
Bradley
Loved it! Harrowing in some aspects being a sailor myself, but just a fantastic retelling of such a milestone in sailing history.
Eddy
I really didn't enjoy this book it appears as much as everyone else did. I never felt the urge to pick it up, it always felt like a mission. I also didn't like that the author depicted early in the book in graph form who came where in the race before the race even started. I found it very difficult to follow the characters, they were very confusing, and by the end of the book I was still confused about who had even won the race. I personally feel that this type of book is always better written a ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: ISBN: 9780060957032 2 15 May 19, 2013 01:05PM  
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