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Left for Dead

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  295 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
In August of 1979, Nick Ward began the six-hundred-mile course of the UK's Fastnet Race with perfect weather. Within forty-eight hours, the deadliest storm in the history of modern sailing had blasted through the Irish Sea, throwing one of the world's most prestigious races into bedlam and taking the lives of fifteen sailors. Ward's boat, "Grimalkin," was capsized again an ...more
ebook, 192 pages
Published December 10th 2008 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published 2007)
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(showing 1-30)
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Petra Eggs
Five star book of the 1979 Fastnet race in which 15 sailors and 3 of the 4,000 rescuers died and which all sailors know about. When I read they were sailing downwind on bare poles dragging the warps I shivered. I've been in a bad storm too, four days, trying to get to Fernando de Noronha but we couldn't set a course and by the time we could we were so exhausted from fighting the storm, the four of us decided to sail directly to Fortaleza in Brazil.

That storm was like a gentle breeze compared to
Jerry Smith
Aug 26, 2012 Jerry Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: disasters, 2013-read
I am reluctant to award 5 stars here on Goodreads. I was uncertain whether to do so here, but the fact is, this book was, to me at least, a page turner that I couldn't put down. I have seen some critiques of the writing style here, and I guess you can tell that Ward is not a writer by trade. However this is totally rendered moot in my view.

This is a realtively short book, but one that I read in a couple of sittings. There is a limited preamble where we learn about NW and the development of his l
Larry Jacobson
Jul 14, 2012 Larry Jacobson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are only two ways I know of to actually feel what it’s like to be in a force 10+ storm with 30-foot + seas: experience it for yourself like I have, or read Nick Ward’s most incredible account in Left for Dead. I know his account is accurate because I’ve experienced it. Nick’s descriptions of the waves, winds, and noises are brilliantly recalled and put into words in a way that places you right there on his boat in the middle of one of the most violent storms ever to be encountered on a sma ...more
Sep 11, 2007 Ken added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sailors
Just read the first couple of chapters. Ward was a lifelong sailor, from age 7 or so he was racing dinghies and keelboats. The sea and her traditions were are like blood and breathing to him.

The most telling parts of the book are when he brushes up against his dismay and amazement that his crewmates left him, never visited him in the hospital, never spoke with him after his recovery.

It's not great writing. You can see that his co-author's heavy editing is necessary to keep him on track and in re
Jun 02, 2015 Marianne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in one day. I couldnt put it down.....I do not sail, but have read many books about sea adventures......This was a terrifying story that left me haunted by his experience. I found it captivating. A quick read. It reminded in part of the movie, "The Perfect Storm"
When a massive storm hit during the 1979 Fastnet yachting race a crisis resulted. Boats small and large were caught in the open and many were unable to escape. Nick Ward was on a relatively small yacht in the Irish Sea when the storm swept in, a dangerous situation which was compounded by the actions of his fellow crew and led to a lengthy ordeal. He was the last person to be rescued from a race which claimed fifteen lives and sank a number of vessels. The refusal of his surviving shipmates to d ...more
May 12, 2015 Rich rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well told tale of a terrifying storm in the Western Approaches during the 1979 Fastnet Race. Nick was a young man in his 20s, crewing a 35 foot yacht - one of 5 crew plus the skipper. Tragically, the skipper and one crew died, of drowning 7 hypothermia. Nick was left on his own, frantically bailing for hours, while being battered by huge waves, and trying to keep alive knowing that he was becoming hypothermic. He had no knowledge of rescues by lifeboats, RAF helicopters, or other seacraft. How ...more
Jerry Grayson
Feb 03, 2017 Jerry Grayson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the book that spurred me to finish my own book RESCUE PILOT. Having taken off at 0500 on that fateful day I had flown way beyond limits and was back on the ground by the time Nick was finally picked out of the water at 2100 that night. Reading the story from his freezing and watery perspective gave me much food for thought and sent shivers down my spine. It was a special day when we met for the first time in order to appear together on the BBC Radio's series "The Reunion" which is online ...more
May 06, 2012 Christopher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first book in a long time that I simply couldn't put down.

The descriptions of wild seas are better than accurate - they actually take you there.

If you have been out to sea, it will take you right back there. It describes perfectly the way it can change in the course of minutes and how stomach clenchingly terrifying it can be.

Of course, Mr Ward has been in a situation that, thankfully, few of us have ever - or ever will be - in.

This, however, is more than simply a description of scary seas an
Nov 21, 2010 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I must have a thing for yachting disaster stories. This was another goody, with the added twist that a feud still goes on between the almost drowned and the saved. The bloke who wrote it is clear about his interpretation of events, and says it all in the title. Himself and a colleague were abondoned during the Fastnet race when it looked as if their yacht was sinking and a life-raft was launched without two of the crew in it – left for dead, except they weren’t, they were just both knocked uncon ...more
Jan 31, 2012 Maria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Donald Bratt
Aug 01, 2015 Donald Bratt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very thrilling, however, sad account from the Fastnet race 1979. Nick Ward is the last surviver in the race to be picked up from the boat Grimalkin after a heroic struggle for his life. 15 casualties overall were reported of which two are Ward's crew mates. Ward doesn't dodge for the the sailing terms, which makes the story very real, but could be a hurdle for non-sailors (there are explanations at the back of the book). Will be very careful when listening to the wheather forecast, next time I ...more
Jun 16, 2013 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like adventure/suspense
Recommended to Michelle by: myhoney
Reading this book was enthralling and quite a journey. Nick Ward put his and the crew's experience as best as he could and I believe it to have been successful in its fairness. The story leaves you wanting to find out the reasons the three crew-members had to leave Nick and Gerry. It also takes you on a roller coaster of emotions once the storm hits. If ever a reader wants to get away from the day to day life, give this book a chance to take you on a journey you'll find hard to forget.

Couldn't p
Nov 11, 2013 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ward, author of numerous children's books, goes back in time to the beautiful day when, as a teen, Ward set off on a 600 mile sailboat race. With little forewarning, the racing sailboats found themselves in the midst of a terrible storm. Through some combination of self-preservation and misunderstanding, three of the crew members left on the lifeboat, leaving Ward and another crew member behind. It's an incredible survival story that demonstrates Ward's invincible spirit, and is a much better ta ...more
Nina Robinson
Oct 09, 2015 Nina Robinson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
On reading the cover of this book it probably wouldn't appeal to a lot of people but it's a must read. I'm no sailor in any way, shape or form and must admit did sometimes get lost in the technical elements of this book but what a great story of survival- and at the end of the day this is what this story is about! Would definitely recommend for anyone who likes to read a good true story!
Jan 07, 2012 Monica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sailing-boats
This is not as well-written as the Fastnet, Force 10 book, but I just had to know what had happened to Nick Ward, who was left on the boat Grimalkin after he and his crewmate, Gerry Winks, were knocked unconscious during the storm. He definitely gave a clear sense of what it would be like to be on a boat in those conditions.
Alison Loughran-fowlds
Harrowing and amazing account of one man left for dead on a sinking yacht in the middle of the Fastnet 1979 yachting disaster. Enthralling read, and well written. He not only writes from his point of view but tries to see the other side from his crewmates' perspective, finally finding peace at the end.
Nov 29, 2015 Spookykcs rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sailing
What a page turner.
Just couldn't put it down, although I tried to consume the very vivid details in small potions ... at first.
Very gripping read and better written than most books from that area - what an ordeal Nick has overcome. I felt I was there with him while reading.
Feb 02, 2008 Anik rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adventure
It's about the will the live...the survival instinct in all of us. And it was from the help of a dead man, that Nick Ward was able to overcome the lonliness and find strength out at sea.

Favorite quote: "If you don't care where you are, then you're not lost. I cared. I was lost."
Feb 08, 2013 Tom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I heard about this book through somebody I met who had sailed in the Fastnet '79. It was great to read it and although not incredibly well written, I felt very well connected with the emotions portrayed. I found it very difficult to find a copy of this but would recommend it to a lot of people.
Sep 02, 2008 Reba rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good, quick read about a sea adventure gone wrong (my favorite type). It's no 'Into Thin Air' but it'll definitely have you turning the pages quickly.
When your "friends" leave you for dead on a sinking boat, but you're not actually dead, and when you see them again they pretend nothing's wrong...
Jun 02, 2014 Dijon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely terrible writing, impressive story.
Nov 17, 2016 Tarquilla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An incredible story.
Oct 16, 2013 Shockvalue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you like survival and sea stories, this one is for you. As I like them, and I race sailboats (sometimes in fairly unprotected waters) it really struck a note with me.
Jun 26, 2014 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very detailed and fairly harrowing
Oct 06, 2012 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very captivating story - even if you are not into sailing.
Apr 13, 2012 Bruce rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lot of the story is about the horrible seas endured for over a day. At times this can become quite repetitive as you wait for the eventual rescue
Oct 31, 2013 Newcost rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome book. Even though the event was some time ago it felt like yesterday and made you feel part of it.
erica rated it it was amazing
Apr 26, 2014
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