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Total Loss. collection of disasters at sea. re-released

Jan 1, 2003

Shortly after the first edition of Total Loss came out in the mid-80s, I remember going through it ravenously, reading it all in practically one sitting. It was -- and the second edition only improves upon the theme -- a collection of (mostly) first-person accounts of losing yachts to the sea. Most of the yachts described were British, but the disasters took place around the world.

I was accused by friends of being morbid, taking apparent pleasure from reading about the tragedies of others. And taken as a whole, one emerges from reading Total Loss with a sense that heading to sea at all is plain foolishness, but that is the point. If you recognize before going to sea that so many things can go wrong, many of which are likely completely out of the control of the crew, then you can't help but be better prepared for the dangers of the high seas. That was what I thought, anyway. Reading the book again after 15 years, I still get a feeling of discomfort -- it's not enjoyable reading, despite being well written. And I must say that more than once while at sea, I have thought that I would do anything in my power to prevent myself from being a guest writer in the next edition of Total Loss.


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