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The Long Way

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  1,466 Ratings  ·  79 Reviews
The Long Way is Bernard Moitessier's own incredible story of his participation in the first Golden Globe Race, a solo, non-stop circumnavigation rounding the three great Capes of Good Hope, Leeuwin, and the Horn. For seven months, the veteran seafarer battled storms, doldrums, gear-failures, knock-downs, as well as overwhelming fatigue and loneliness. Then, nearing the fin ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published January 1st 1995 by Sheridan House (first published 1971)
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Artnoose McMoose
Jan 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: sailors and non-sailors alike
Recommended to Artnoose by: Moxie Marlinspike
If you haven't yet read the book A Voyage For Madmen about the Sunday Time Golden Globe circumnavigational race, you should read that first and then read this, an account by one of the participants. Bernard Moitessier was not just a participant in this incredible event, he was the lone participant who once he completed one single-handed loop around the three capes, decided to give Western Civilization the finger and keep on sailing, giving up all prizes and monies associated with officially winn ...more
Wm Pope
Jun 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sailing, life, favorites
Funny that I had not read this book previously. My brother asked me to read something at his wedding that was nautical and talked about life, this was his first thought for inspiration.

Moitessier conveys his love for the sea and sailing. Central to the book is what it means to be a creature living on this planet. This is the story of a solitary voyage, racing around the planet in a small boat. The other competitors are nearly absent. What is present is the sea, the boat, Moitessier, and his thou
Dec 31, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
In 1968 the London Sunday Times sponsored a circumnavigating the globe single handed sailing race. At that time, no one had sailed around the world alone without stopping. With the media attention there was even more of the romanticism always intwined in The Sea.

The race, however, would come to expose all the real and terrible tragedy of "nature". Alone in that empty, mystical plain of ungovernable, unfathomable wild, one man would step off his boat's deck sinking forever into the oblivion. Moi
John Humber
Aug 02, 2013 rated it liked it
I came to this book after reading A Voyage for Madmen. I was just fascinated to learn more about someone who sails alone around the world, without touching land and when almost home decides "Nah. Let's just keep sailing".

The book doesn't disappoint but here is a man so obsessed he must have been impossible to live with. I have seen film of an interview with his wife and she says (I'm paraphrasing here) "That's Bernard. It's just the way he is and you have to accept that". Strikes me that she is
Premal Vora
Jun 10, 2017 rated it liked it
In 1968, the Sunday Times of the UK held the first (and only) Golden Globe race: sailors had to single-handedly circumnavigate the globe in a sailboat race with the sailboat staying within certain specifications. The race began and ended in Plymouth, UK. No fancy navigational aids were allowed(there was no GPS then in any case), no radio, nothing. To mark the 50th anniversary of that race, another will be held beginning in the summer of 2018. This is an appropriate time to read or revisit Bernar ...more
Aug 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this, but ultimately it wasn't for me.

The first half was a pretty standard sea tale consisting of weather updates, sea conditions, etc—your basic log entry stuff—peppered in over a lot of talk about the freedom of the sea and the sort of vague spirituality that engenders. Not bad. There were a few choice quotes and moments of rumination. But the second half really went off the hippy-dippy deep end. There was a lot of talk about the "Monster," which, as best as I can figure, is
Jul 17, 2015 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Melissa Luna
Sep 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Oh Moitessier, you are such a romantic! A french hippie poet vagabond. This book is pure nectar, poetry, adventure, love of life in script. But I had to knock half a star off for going overboard with the tangents about the "Machine." Not that I don't agree in spirit, it just rubbed me the wrong way, felt badly written, trite. It actually hurts me to say that about this incredible book. Read it, do! I'll read it again just to hang out with this precious man.
Dec 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography, travel
The last few chapters made the entire book for me. The world could use a few more barefoot, hippie, vagabond French poets like Moitessier.
Richard Kastelein
May 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
My favourite boating book of all time. The man is a legend.
Jan 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mind-enhancing
Or the adventures of a totally free spirit, told in a simple and charming way. Moitessier was first in the race around the globe and chose not to land and reap the glory but rather keep on sailing.
William Graney
Jun 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a an amazing saga and the writer delivers the story in a captivating style that is not the least bit egotistical. This is one I'll never forget.
Morgan McBride
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was excited to read this, having learned about Moitessier a few months earlier and developing more of an interest as I learned about him.

As a non-sailor, but a person with an interest in the cruising lifestyle as well as a respect for Moitessier's decision to continue sailing on after rounding the horn, this book did not disappoint.

A little sailing knowledge helps understand Moistessier's activities, especially in the beginning, where the book is more technically-focused. I took about an hour
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nautical
As an armchair sailor I love to read books about the sea. There is something about the challenge of the sea and sailing, the maintenance of the boat and the navigation that intrigues me.

This account of Moitessier's is absolutely fascinating. Packed with good tips about how to survive months at sea, it occasionally wanders off into poetry and mysticism, but is well worth reading.

Jan 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting read. I admire the strength of the author and the other solo sailors. They are a very small and close-knit group. On the other hand, these men want to be alone most of the time. They belong on the open sea, not on shore.

The book has lots of technical weather, navigating, and sailing terms. Sometimes it reads more like a journal than a novel.
cindy massey
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book!

The author is an excellent writer. He writes with passion and provides lots of useful information of interest to anyone who has fantasies of sailing around the world in a sail boat.
Mickaël Quiniou
C'est clair que c'est long... surtout pour le lecteur!
Emi Caro
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Bella lettura, immancabile nello scaffale degli appassionati di vela, mare e avventura
Stephen Ryder
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's a classic sailing book, and for good reason. Moitessier's adventures come alive in these pages. Looking forward to reading more of his stuff in the future.
Feb 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
It wasn't until 1968 that Robin Knox-Johnston became the first person to solo non-stop circumavigate the Earth in a sailboat. Knox-Johnston was one of nine sailors competing in the Golden Globe race for this honor and the only sailor to finish the race.

Arguably more interesting than Knox-Johnston, however, is Bernard Moitessier. True, Moitessier was one of the other eight who did not complete the race. But he didn't return to the starting point in England because, after sailing all of the way ar
Dec 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What an amazing book. Moitessier was a truly unique man.

It may be a little hard to decipher at times for those unfamiliar with sailing and nautical terminology, but he makes an attempt to write in such a way that that if you are not concerned about the details of sailing that you can breeze through those parts without getting confused and lost, there were only a few times I had to seek an outside source because something was totally lost on me. There is also an adequate glossary of sailing term
Apr 11, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Oooof. This was a challenging read. Now, I like a bit of flowery metaphor laced description as much as the next guy, but this one was overkill.
Perhaps at the time it was written Moitessier was the darling of the sailing community and could be allowed his indulgences - this is a bit of a classic now. I'm not entirely sure why however. I found the lack of interesting observations about the surroundings and the actual act of sailing made the book quite challenging to continue reading. The book see
è un diario, un manuale, un racconto, un trattato. la storia è semplice e stupefacente: nel 1968 un gruppetto di navigatori (compagni di barca, come dice b.m.) partecipò al primo giro del mondo in vela, in solitario e senza scalo. moitessier partecipò con un due alberi in acciaio di 12 metri. attraversò i tre grandi capi: buona speranza, leewin e horn, e invece di concludere e vincere la regata, proseguì per un altro mezzo giro del mondo, per andare a fermarsi a tahiti.
nel diario analizza se ste
Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Forgot I didn't write a review for The Long Way yet. This is a great book. I don't know why I wanted to read a book about a sailor traversing the globe, or why I liked the pages and pages and pages of sailing detail and terminology I didn't understand, but I did. It was oddly relaxing and interesting.

The author left his family and went around the three capes, and then did it again and decided not to go back. The end is a little nutty with his political ranting (and I'm even in his way of thinki
Jan 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
A brilliant sailor and profoundly spiritual man with the same soul dilemma many of us have nowadays: how to experience true life in the presence of The Monster, aka modern civilization???

I enjoyed this book a lot. Learned about weather patterns and what food and sleep deprivation does for one's sense of euphoria/connectedness. Also porpoises are awesome.

His move to Tahiti and the book's subsequent pinhole focus on the "little garden" seemed totally inconsequential and anticlimactic to the rest o
John Pedersen
Sep 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: sailing, memoir
This book was a mixed bag for me. The first half and a bit more was basically like reading the log of his voyage - very little color or insight. Next was some interesting insight as he struggles with his choice to turn away from finishing the race and continuing on. After that, he struggles with how far to continue - stop in South Africa? Continue to Tahiti? Galapagos? Finally, the last few pages of the narrative turn into an anti-development rant / fever dream. And then the appendix has tons of ...more
Ian Hunt
Apr 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A fascinating page turner from a profound and romantic Frenchman. The Long Way tells a truly amazing tale of a man fulfilling his dreams and communing with the world on a level most may never understand. Moitessier is truly remarkable with a writing style that is laid back to the point of Zen. Glossing over details few men would skip in an attempt to paint themselves as the hero, Moitessier is at home in the open ocean. Joshua, his sailboat, is truly the hero here and Moitessier thanks him daily ...more
Aug 30, 2008 rated it liked it
The author sails around the world one and half times without ever touching land or talking to another person other then when he transferred film and writings to another boat, two times. It took him 10 months to sail. No compass, no radio, no motor for emergencies. Took place in 1968-69. A good book about sailing as there are various diagrams and an appendix to help you become acquainted. The writing probably isn’t quite as clear as other sailing books I’ve read but I did enjoy it. I don’t think ...more
Sep 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
I first read this book in german whilst crossing the Atlantic on a 39ft steel-hulled pig called Beule. I became instantly fascinated with all stories (including Donald Crowhurst's) surrounding this race. I also loved reading the zen-like state Moitessier reaches before deciding (SPOILER ALERT) that the race does not matter. Eventhough he is in a great position to win, he changes course and heads not for home, but for his mistress and the promise of tranquility in Tahiti. Beautiful descriptions o ...more
Pat Bitton
Jun 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
I wanted to read this book after seeing several iterations of Pratik Motwani's stage interpretation at Dell'Arte, and it did not disappoint. While there is much technical/mechanical boat-related language in the book that I did not understand, this really did not impact the power of the story - a record of one man's solo journey around the world and his ever-more intimate relationship with the sea. The sea is really the leading character in the book, affecting every aspect of Moitessier's life in ...more
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“One thing at a time, as in the days when I was building Joshua. If I had wanted to build all the boat at once, the enormity of the task would have crushed me. I had to put all I had into the hull alone, without thinking about the rest. It would follow . . . with the help of the gods. Sailing non-stop around the world is the same. I do not think anyone has the means of pulling it off—at the start.” 3 likes
“I hate storms, but calms undermine my spirits.” 2 likes
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