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I’ve read many books of people who have braved treacherous seas and other obstacles to solo sail around the word. The General lesson these stories have is that with guts, a worthy boat, and determination you can do it. These stories kind of pump you up to take the challenge, whether justified or not. Are there any books or stories of people who have attempted it then part way through the trip just say “**** it....this sucks...I’m going home.”? A book that can give another, and possibly a more realistic, view of the subject. I know that in the recent Golden Globe RTW Race, one participant, a professional sailor, quit early in the race saying “this isn’t for me....I couldn’t get in a groove”, but I haven’t read anything further. And better yet, if someone here had a first hand, or second hand account, it would be great if you shared your experience.
 

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I don’t know if it was a “failure” but along your lines....

I had ambitions to make Greenland this past summer, leaving from Newfoundland. Didn’t go aas planned. First night out the engine, running it to charge batteries, started making some bad sounds. So I diverted to St. Anthony. Got things fixed easy enough but lost my wx window. A week later I started again and the second day the engine was overheating and after doing all I felt comfortable with at sea I aborted the trip.

Now it was cold and wet and miserable. Going into St Anthony put me off course and into the ice berg track. I was poking along in the fog, cooped up below due to the cold and wet, staring at the radar for bergs as I had no visibility. I was miserable and although I didn’t put a name to it at the time, terribly depressed.

I turned for home, shortly the weather improved, I got some wind and my mood picked up tremendously.

I suspect that being in similar circumstances again I will feel the same depression. Hopefully I’ll be able to recognize it for what it is, put a name on it, and more successfully manage it.

It would not break my heart to never have a repeat of that feeling. But that may be unablvoidanke.

Who knows?
 

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Marinas around the world are filled with boats for sale that aren’t continuing their journey. The Caribbean for sure. I understand New Zealand and Australia are hot spots too.
 

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A guy hung himself in the marina in Johor Baru, Malaysia when I was there.
His engine was in parts spread around the saloon.

No, he didn't write about it.

I suggest one never read the books about cruising. Just go.

It really quite easy. You do need some money and a bit of luck. More luck = less money. And to sail conservatively because breaking kit is not replaceable at sea no matter the luck or money.

In general there is no book in failure... But there's no book in Easy, either. There's only books in drama.
People tell me to write a book but I tell them it wouldn't sell. Who wants to buy a book called: "Marks Circumnavigation, It was Nice, Nothing Bad Happened".


Mark
 

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Slayer, not sure this is what you are looking for. I can think of 2 that are close, although I think you are working on more failure of the spirit than unavoidable bad outcomes, although in many of the stories here those 2 items are correlated.

Heavy Weather Sailing by Coles
Total Loss by Jack Coote
 

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Biggest failure....that easy....when I joined Sailing Anarchy
 

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No question that there are a lot of solo sailing attempts that have not gone as planned and the sailor abandoned the attempt. There was Donald Crowhurst in the first Single Handed Around the World Race. https://www.amazon.com/s?k=donald+crowhurst&i=stripbooks&hvadid=78408975900598&hvbmt=be&hvdev=c&hvqmt=e&tag=mh0b-20&ref=pd_sl_9sa0gdzt2q_e

Another one from that race is Bernard Matessier though he didn't actually quit sailing just dropped out of the race on the final leg in the Atlantic when he was far ahead and would've been the sure winner. He elected instead to continue sailing half again around the world to Tahiti. https://www.amazon.com/Long-Way-Bernard-Moitessier-ebook/dp/B01MRK180I/ref=sr_1_1?hvadid=77721782537249&hvbmt=be&hvdev=c&hvqmt=e&keywords=moitessier+bernard&qid=1570982957&sr=8-1
 

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Does this count?

I set off to explore the west coast of Newfoundland in 2018. I motored 15 miles to the first anchorage, dropped the hook with the intention moving on the next day. One day bled into the next. Soon it was week into week, and finally month into month.

After nearly three months we hauled anchor, motored the 15 miles back to the dock, and called it a season. It was the best “failure” of my cruising life :).
 

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Will confess I had the first boat I ever had built for me! In fact the first new boat I’ve ever had with the intention of going rtw. Had it together. A good strong boat. 30 years of experience including multiple ocean passages. Enough funds. Retired so enough time.
Thing I didn’t have was the wife entirely on board. Her kids health went south. She said “I won’t be more than a days flight away from family “. That meant including the time getting to an international airport. She has two grown kids with arrthymogenic right ventricular dysplasia. Although both have in dwelling defibrillators but they can die at anytime.
She’s my world. A boats just a boat. Easy choice. It wouldn’t mean anything without her along. She’s done passages. The passage is less stressful for her than being away. She’ll go when she thinks things are safe. Otherwise she flys and meets me.
Maybe it’s sour grapes but have come to believe the rtw thing is some egocentric fantasy for many. Some need it for themselves to feel validated. Some just like to sail and almost unintentionally end up doing it. Don’t know which I would have been but think the latter as we always talked “let’s go to the leewards. Then maybe the windwards. Then maybe the ABCs. Then maybe Panama. Then the SP....”
Do I miss it ? Yes. Do I regret not doing it? No.
 

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A guy hung himself in the marina in Johor Baru, Malaysia when I was there.
His engine was in parts spread around the saloon.

No, he didn't write about it.

I suggest one never read the books about cruising. Just go.

It really quite easy. You do need some money and a bit of luck. More luck = less money. And to sail conservatively because breaking kit is not replaceable at sea no matter the luck or money.

In general there is no book in failure... But there's no book in Easy, either. There's only books in drama.
People tell me to write a book but I tell them it wouldn't sell. Who wants to buy a book called: "Marks Circumnavigation, It was Nice, Nothing Bad Happened".Mark
Even with my slightly more dramatic seafaring adventures, I'm not sure many would be interested enough to read a book of my voyages, though quite a few have suggested it.
However, and perhaps it's because I began my adventures before there was a "get out of a scary situation for free" card (the USCG), there were a few books worth reading as text books for survival at sea in extreme circumstances, IMO.
First and foremost, "Once is Enough" by Smeeton, a book which literally saved our lives because, in similar circumstances, after of reading that book, I knew exactly what to do to stop the sea water ingress without a moment's thought. And moments meant a lot in a hurricane at sea after a capsize!
Though I do not for a instant believe how the authors explained either vessels' sinking, I did find these 2 stories of their survival thereafter of terrific import, again in the days before the free card.
Survive the Savage Sea and 117 Days Adrift. However, both these stories reinforced my resolve not to abandon my vessel until I had done everything within my power to stop her sinking, and then only to step UP into my life raft/boat, and not a second earlier.
 

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Was doing a simple weekend favor for a friend. His brother bought a Hinckley Pilot. Had it wooded and totally restored at their Maine yard to use it as a gentleman’s day sailor. We were to take it from there to Duxbury Ma. CG had buoys out. Forecast was benign. Snowed while leaving. Turned to freezing rain. My friend and his brother went below to sleep after dinner. I took the second watch. Other crew (4 aboard) stuck his head out “hey the floorboards are floating!!!”. Turned on the engine which was still hot from leaving. Woke everyone. Owner started yelling “we’re going to die...we’re going to die... we’re going to die...”. Brother punched him out. Duck taped him into a sleeping bag and put him in the v berth. Everyone searching for the leak. Pitch black. Winds and seas building. Reefed but headsail blew out. My friend found leak. Engine through hull partially sheared at flange. Presumably struck by milk carton filled with spare anchor chain. Water up to settees. Everything floating. Water over tanks and batteries with pitching. Made wrapping with oily rags then Spanish windlass around it to tighten. Leak slowed. Block failed. Boat jybed. Main gone. Friend hypothermic. Boat stank. Diesel fumes and crap. No nav. No radio beyond low watt handheld. No one around. Big wind and seas. Into oilworkers suit. Augment barepoles with warps. Blown east north east. Rain and sleet and sea smoke. Drive blind. Two functional. Can’t go below as stench makes you puke. 15m on then off. When off pump. 48 hours. Things quiet. Cut away tatters of sails. Friend in bad shape. Was in cold water fixing leak. Attend to him. Check his brother. Make tea. Drink heated coke. Eat sneaker bars. The rest slop. Throw out what we can. Sleep. Next day take cockpit sun cover. Fold it on diagonal and make a sail. Try to make westing. Can’t do better then a near reach. Hit land a couple of towns north of Duxbury in situate. All go to hospital. All get hydration, electrolyte correction, warming beds.
Find out we were called overdue. Search given up. My first wife had already called on the life insurance (says why she ended up the first). Two weeks later go to see boat. All varnish gone. Inside and out. All mold. Still stinks. Glass crazed. New name done in leaf gone. Trashed.
Says why I won’t do passage by myself. Will single but not passage.
That June do Marion.
 

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I simply do not have any storage, let alone anything heavy, in a locker with a thru hull. Period. Fashion a divider, if they storage space is so critical. Anchor chain?! That’s just asking for trouble. Lost count of damage stories. Out’s takes the cake.
 

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Survive the Savage Sea and 117 Days Adrift. However, both these stories reinforced my resolve not to abandon my vessel until I had done everything within my power to stop her sinking, and then only to step UP into my life raft/boat, and not a second earlier.
Note that since the wide uptake of EPIRBs there has been no, none, zilch, zero long lifeboat survival incidents of cruising boats (that I can remember).

Whilst I'm not suggesting that we take lesser liferafts to sea, nor equip them any less, nor have a lesser grab bag, how relevant are those old survival books?

Even Allard Coles Heavy Weather Sailing is out of date with modern hull shapes, isn't it?

I certainly agree with not stepping down from the boat into the life-raft. I'm sitting on deck firing off both EPIRBs and ringing the Coast Guard on the Sat Phone whilst launching the dinghy with the 18ph OB on it.
 

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Before I scare people away.
Above occurred decades ago. Now just wouldn’t happen. CG would report if buoys were out. They caught big static for this event as other boats also got in trouble for this forecast. Forcasting is currently not even dependent on buoys. Personal and boat epirbs are cheap and everywhere. Handheld nav and comm exists, works and is cheap. Stop leak tapes, putty’s, quick set epoxy exist. The whole thing would be a non event and we wouldn’t have left in the first place.
Still, single passage is way dangerous even now. Just having an able bodied adult even if not skilled totally changes everything. I’m alive because there was one with me.
Slocum was good. In fact a great sailor. But he was also lucky.
Think the most dangerous sailing is coastal. People set off in a different mindset. Boat and crew may not be set up for what can happen even now. We go coastal with all the stuff and the mindset as we would for passage. Think you should too. Won’t leave on a iffy forcast. If not feeling good. With things broke. With out spares. Be a boyscout. Want you posting on SN.
 

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how relevant are those old survival books?

Even Allard Coles Heavy Weather Sailing is out of date with modern hull shapes, isn't it? .
Given the possibility of electronics failing, I don't see how reading a couple of well written sea stories could hurt.
I've never been a fan of Allard Cole's Heavy Weather Sailing, even though I have owned it since the '60s. It is certainly out of date today.
 

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Very expensive, latest stuff.
Can only buy direct in person at factory in monte carlo.
Envious
Because every one of those long sea survival stories say how they saw multiple ships go past them while they were stuck in an immovable life-raft. With a fast dinghy I can motor over and bang on the hull while firing rockets into their bridge.
:grin
 
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