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Letter: A storm that took lives inspired ways to save others

Editor’s Note: Many readers enjoyed our interview with author and safety at sea advocate John Rousmaniere and we recently received this letter:

Dear Mr. Rousmaniere,

Fastnet, Force 10Wonderful interview and much appreciated emphasis on safety. I just finished reading Fastnet, Force 10. Thank you for the poignant and riveting story of the Fastnet Race of 1979. As a “landlubber,” your account gifted me a better understanding of the sport of sailing, while imparting to me a profound respect for those men and women who fully engage their love of sailing, providing us armchair sailors with a sense of something we’ve never experienced.

Our hats off, especially to the brave first responders, both by sea and air, who rescued so many from the likelihood of certain death. Fastnet, Force 10 would make a wonderful movie; perhaps someone of the caliber of Robert Redford or Clint Eastwood would be interested in helping to bring this tale to the big screen. May God continue to bless you and all those you hold dear, on land, air and sea.

Warmest regards, Chad Kapfhamer, via email

John Rousmaniere replies:

Thank you very much, Chad. To have both sailed in and written about the storm was, combined, a remarkable life-changing experience for me, in part due to many responses like yours. The storm, with its tragedies and acts of heroism, has touched many lives through the book in many editions in several languages. There has been talk of a film several times, but the book seems to stand on its own legs.

Besides the extraordinary human stories, there are many seamanship lessons learned from the Fastnet storm, and you’ll find them in another of my books, The Annapolis Book of Seamanship, now in its 4th edition. The storm also stimulated the creation of safety at sea seminars, which I moderated for many years. Any cruiser or racer or day sailor will find much to learn at a US Sailing safety seminar.

Best wishes, John Rousmaniere

You can read the interview here.


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