Monday, May 24, 2010

Book Review - A Race Too Far

Nearly every year there is now a race or record where the route goes around the world. Some with stops, many without. While the undertaking is daunting, it has been achieved many times over. Yes, failures exist, but they are rarely tragic. Advances in communication and support prevent that. But it wasn’t always this way.

The book ‘A Race Too Far’ follows the real life story of the 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, the very first non-stop, single-handed, round-the-world yacht race. What we may take for granted now was then, the equivalent of space travel. It was like walking on the moon. It was very simply not known whether a human could endure such an undertaking.

Earlier books and the movie ‘Deep Water’ have also covered this story, but author Chris Eakin was able to get many of the participants to tell their story for the very first time. Of the nine sailors who started the race, there was one suicide during the race, one suspicious death after the race, with many more lives suffering consequences. Only Robin Knox-Johnston succeeded, sailing much of the race without an autopilot, and overcoming formidable obstacles along the route.

Eakin succeeds at sharing this gripping tale, and for revealing the relevance this event had on how races are now managed. It is hard to imagine where we would be if Knox-Johnston had not succeeded, as the book demonstrates the immense influence he has had on the sport. At 320 pages, it is great read if you are looking for one. Click here for additional information.

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