From the publisher: Sailing on a boat by yourself out at sea and out of sight of land can be exhilarating or terrifying, compelling or tedious - sometimes it can be all of these things just in one morning. It is an adventure at odds with our normal, sociable lives, carried out floating on a medium wholly inimical to our existence. But the deep ocean is also a remarkable place on which to think. Richard King's enormously engaging and curious new book is about the debt we owe to solo sailors: women and men, young and old, who have set out alone. Spending weeks and months alone, slowly, quietly and close to the ocean surface is to create the world's largest laboratory: an endlessly changing, capricious and startling place in which to observe oneself, the weather, the stars and myriad sea creatures, from the tiniest to the most massive and threatening. This is a book for anyone who is fascinated by sailing, solitude and the vast seas that cover so much of our planet.
"Richard King is a superb and gifted writer, and Sailing Alone is an exceptional book. Into his account of his own singlehanded ocean crossing, he has woven a rare and compelling history of the real explorers, the extraordinary 'ordinary' people—men, women, and even children—who took off alone, in tiny, often crude boats, and found what we are all searching for. Here is the real story of what it's like to be alone at sea. A real achievement that will provide inexhaustible re-reading, Sailing Alone belongs on the very small shelf of the true classics of the sea." --Peter Nichols, author of Sea Change and A Voyage for Madmen
"Sailing Alone is a beacon, a lighthouse of luminance for the experienced and inexperienced alike. Richard King's insightful reflections on the stories of lone voyagers make this required reading for all who dream fervently of such voyages. A nuanced study in aspiration, endurance, terror, and triumph, it's a treasure."--Jon Wilson, Founder, WoodenBoat
"In a way, the book is as much a feat as the crossing. Less strenuous, you assume, and certainly less scarring for its author, but still something to be marvelled at. For King doesn't just tell his own story, but also those of other oceanic soloists, and he mixes together history, science, nature and even culture in order to do so. Yet somehow it all coheres into a singular exploration of a single question: why?" --Peter Hoskin, Prospect
"In an engaging, beautifully written history of single-handed sailing, Slocum's influence and example are never far from the horizon. Richard King, the author, is a solo trans-Atlantic sailor himself. He sets out to investigate what it is that possesses an ever-growing number of people to get into a small boat and sail on their own across the world's seas." --The Economist
"King reminds us of the unrecorded navigational and long-distance sailing feats of the Pacific islanders who settled New Zealand, Hawaii and Madagascar centuries ago. He also takes pains to recall that single-handed sailing has not been the preserve of white, western men such as Francis Chichester and Robin Knox-Johnston, even if their exploits tend to be better remembered by, well, white, western men. His subjects also include Ann Davison, the first woman to sail across the Atlantic single-handed, the Filipino Florentino Das, Japan's Kenichi Horie and black Americans Bill Pinkney and Teddy Seymour, who stressed the need for preparation ahead of a voyage and vigilance about the risks. "If you want guarantees," Seymour wrote, 'buy a toaster.' " --Victor Mallet, Financial Times