The Ship and the Storm: Hurricane Mitch and the Loss of the Fantome (Harvest Book)

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9780156007405: The Ship and the Storm: Hurricane Mitch and the Loss of the Fantome (Harvest Book)

"Utterly compulsive and unputdownable--the most exciting, authentic, and humanly moving of all the recent Storm books. Brilliantly paced and perfectly balanced. . . . Carrier is a marvelously trustworthy narrator. . . . A terrific book."--Jonathan Raban, author of Passage to Juneau: A Sea and Its Meanings and Bad Land: An American Romance

"A wonderful story. An extremely well-written account of the events as I knew them. I commend Jim Carrier for a magnificent job."--Jerry D. Jarrell, Director, National Hurricane Center

In October 1998, the majestic schooner Fantome came face-to-face with one of the most savage storms in Atlantic history. The last days of the Fantome are reconstructed in vivid and heartbreaking detail through Jim Carrier's extensive research and hundreds of personal interviews. What emerges is a story of courage, hubris, the agony of command, the weight of lives versus wealth, and the advances of science versus the terrible power and unpredictability of nature.

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Review:

A wonderful reporting and writing job. ( The Log 2001-01-12)

It's a wonderful story, a triumph, really of human determination to do what seems undoable and to never yield in the face of my adversity. ( The Log 2001-01-12)

Carrier excels at vivid weather descriptions. ( Philadelphia Inquirer 2001-01-07)

"gripping and compelling. Carrier excels at vivid weather descriptions." ( Philadelphia Inquirer 2001-01-07)

The heart-wrenching testimony of the crew's families, horror stories of survivors on land, and scientific background from the meteorologists provide a thoroughly detailed context in which to view one of the worst hurricanes in recorded history. ( Booklist 2000-11-15)

This well-written, absorbing, saga easily stands on its own. ( Library Journal 2000-11-15)

"the writing is as good and the tale of the doomed ship is better documented by witness accounts than the loss of the boat and the crew in The Perfect Storm...Carrier sends the reader into the eye of the hurricane and it's a terrifying ride. Warning: Once you get on board, there's no turning back." ( The Denver Post 2000-11-13)

Whatever business you're in, "The Ship" has some lessons: Pay attention to those giving you bad news because they might be right. Sometimes, the "worst case scenario" isn't farfetched or the person in your organization vocalizing it less than a team player. ( Business Journal 2000-10-24)

Jim Carrier has written a book tracking the life and death of the Fantome and the storm that killed her, captain Guyan March and his courageous crew. "What killed these guys was a combination of errors," Carrier said last week from his office in Montgomery, Ala. "Errors in forecasting by the Hurricane Center in Miami and by the captain and his bosses in Miami." ( Fort Worth Star-Telegram 2000-10-24)

"Carrier does a first-rate job of giving individuated life to the star-crossed crew of the Fantome, rendering this dark drama of duty and courage amidst nature's fury gripping but never exploitative." ( Kirkus Reviews 2000-10-15)

From the Back Cover:

"An outstanding book. Truly gripping and chilling."--Captain G. Andy Chase, Maine Maritime Academy

Built for luxury on a grand scale, the Fantome was a 282-foot, steel-hulled, four-masted schooner commissioned by the Duke of Westminster in the Roaring Twenties to idle along the French Riviera. She was rescued from mothballs in 1971 by self-made Miami entrepreneur Mike Burke, founder of Windjammer Barefoot Cruises, Ltd., who purchased the tall ship from Aristotle Onassis. For the next twenty-seven years, the Fantome lumbered through the Caribbean, carrying passengers on weeklong fantasy cruises, spiced with rum and sun.

Captain Guyan March, thirty-two years old, had spent his entire professional career aboard Mike Burke's aging fleet of tall ships. When he agreed to command the Fantome in the uncrowded waters of the Gulf of Honduras during hurricane season, he knew that a storm would leave him little time to run and few places to hide.

In October 1998, as March and his crew--most of them West Indians and most still in their twenties--neared the end of another cruise season, Tropical Storm Mitch whirled to life like a nebula in the southern reaches of the Caribbean. While hurricane specialists in Miami struggled to decipher satellite photos and conflicting readings, Mitch moved north, then west, ultimately growing into the fourth most powerful Atlantic storm on record as it plowed toward the Gulf of Honduras. After discharging his 97 passengers in Belize, Captain March--with First Mate "Brasso" Frederick, Second Mate Onassis Reyes, and twenty-eight other crew--took the $20 million uninsured ship to sea to try to dodge the approaching storm.

Mitch would become the most destructive hurricane in Western Hemisphere history, leaving 18,207 people dead or missing. It would devastate Honduras. First, though, it would corner the Fantome in a deadly game of cat and mouse, confounding the experts' predictions and countering the ship's every move with eerie precision. Descending on the ship, it would expose every unexamined assumption to 180-mile-per-hour winds and 50-foot seas.

Based on journalist Jim Carrier's exhaustive research and hundreds of interviews--including Windjammer staff and passengers, the crew's families, and experts from the National Hurricane Center--The Ship and the Storm explores the story of the Fantome and Hurricane Mitch from every angle, cutting from the deck of the ship, to cruise company headquarters in Miami, to the research planes flying into the unspeakable heart of the storm, to islanders and coastal villagers in a desperate battle for survival. Heartbreaking and horrifying, this story won't let go.

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