Monday, July 25, 2011

A World of my Own (Robin Knox-Johnston)

A few months ago, I was lucky enough to be lent A Voyage for Madmen by a friend, and tremendously enjoyed this amazing read. A World of my Own is the personal account of one of the participating sailors, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who would go on to win the race and become a legendary figure of British sailing. Sir Robin shows an extraordinary determination to continue the race against all odds, even after some mechanical failures which many would have considered critical enough to warrant abandoning the race altogether (he finished with no engine and lost the use of his self-steering gear half-way through the voyage, among other minor disasters). Psychologists who examined him before he set off found him to be “distressingly normal”, but reading through his book it quickly appears that he is nothing short of an extraordinary man. His deeply rooted, steadily grounded personality and unfailing optimism and calm in even the most dire conditions can only inspire admiration. His insightful story-telling makes this first-hand account of the race a very enjoyable read. A book I would highly recommend to anyone who has ever dreamt of sailing into the sunset.

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