Fatal Storm: The Inside Story of the Tragic Sydney-Hobart Race

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9780071356985: Fatal Storm: The Inside Story of the Tragic Sydney-Hobart Race

This is a tale of high adventure, of fascination with and fear of the sea, and of the emotions of the families of the competitors as well as the competitors themselves; the dreadful situations when faced with fatalities, and the feelings of utter helplessness when it came to saving others. It is a salute to the rescuers and a tribute to those who died. The annual Sydney to Hobart yacht race has become established as one of the world's major sporting events. In 1998 it became one of the world's major sporting disasters. Six sailors tragically perished, countless others suffered injuries and numerous yachts sank or were badly damaged. Rob Mundle, tells this story of challenge and survival, details the history of the race, the excitement of the start and the thrill of competition, and from his interviews with officials, crews, survivors and rescue service personnel he relates the calamity and triumph of this event.

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Review:

"As far as I was concerned, death was just there in the water alongside us. You could sense it was there. I was thinking if I get out of this I'm going to be a lucky bloke. The whole boat was completely engulfed in white water, completely submerged. We went into the night thinking the next wave could be the one that took us out."

Journalist and yachtsman Rob Mundle had covered the Sydney to Hobart yacht race 30 times, three times as a competitor, but the 46th renewal was to be the most extraordinary, and ultimately tragic story he has ever had to report.

Millions around the world had witnessed the sunshine carnival of the race start on Boxing Day morning in 1998. Within 24 hours the fleet would be devastated by a "weather bomb"--a freak cyclone with gusting winds of90 knots and waves to 80 feet--and one of the most dramatic sea rescues of modern times began. Six lives were lost and a further 55 competitors were winched from their stricken vessels as they lay at the mercy of the towering sea.

In interviews with the survivors and their rescuers and through a rich selection of awe-inspiring photographs, Mundle takes us to the heart of the storm, recounting stories of their desperate courage and extraordinary endeavour as the tragedy unfolded.

Fatal Storm is a powerful and moving celebration of the spirit of adventure that carried these men and women to the ocean and a fitting tribute to those who did not return. --Alex Hankin

From the Back Cover:

Harrowing shoreside reading!" Booklist

One of the world's three great ocean sailing competitions, the annual 630-mile race from Sydney, Australia, to Hobart, Tasmania, pits sailboats against the notoriously rough waters of Bass Strait and the Tasman Sea.

The 115 boats leaving Sydney Harbor on December 26, 1998 expected rough weather, ­­but the gale that caught the boats well at sea in the predawn hours of December 27 was anything but routine. The freak, unseasonal storm brought hurricane-strength winds, waves six stories high, and the worst sailing disaster in recent history. Seven boats were abandoned at sea and five sank. Fifty-seven sailors were rescued, plucked from the decks of broken boats or from the sea itself under impossible conditions. Six sailors died.

"The famous killer Sydney - Hobart Race has found its chronicler in Rob Mundle. An Australian journalist who was on the scene . . . Mundle's portrayals of courageous sailors and heroic rescuers fighting for their lives are as vivid as any I have read."
­­John Rousmaniere, author, Fastnet: Force 10

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