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Notable New Books

Jan 1, 2003

The Ship and the Storm

Hurricane Mitch and the Loss of the Fantome

by Jim Carrier

One of the most vociferously debated recent marine casualties, the loss of the sailing cruise ship Fantome to Hurricane Mitch in October 1998, is described in excruciating detail in Jim Carrier's new book. Carrier deftly portrays the human side of the story - the colorful lifestyle of Windjammer Cruises, the company that owned Fantome - blended with the technical aspects of the story, particularly the capabilities of the crew at the time of the incident.

Thirty-one lives were lost with the sinking of Fantome. And mistakes were made in decisions that led to its sinking off Honduras. But this book puts the reader in the position of understanding the context of those decisions, so one can't help feeling sympathy for those involved, and knowing exactly how trapped Capt. Guyan March must have felt: surrounded by lee shores, at the helm of an aged ship, and staring down the barrel of a Category 5 hurricane.

International Marine/McGraw Hill, Camden, Maine; 207-236-4837; 265 pages; $24.95.