Madness at Sea

Madness at Sea

Nic Compton’s latest book looks interesting – to me at least. Apparently publishers haven’t shown any interest, but psychosis, paranoia and the rest have played a part in so many true and fictional tales of the sea. And of course there’s something especially vulnerable about a short-handed or solo sailor that makes the possibility of insanity especially scary… Buy your cheapie Kindle edition copy here.

Here’s what Nic’s back-cover blurb has to say:

‘When Donald Crowhurst’s boat was found drifting in mid-Atlantic with no-one on board, its solo skipper having apparently taken his life, it confirmed what many people suspected about sailing on the high seas: it can drive you crazy. Indeed, the link between ships and psychological trauma is embedded in our culture, from the privations suffered by Odysseus during his ten-year voyage home from Troy, to the emotional torture described in ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’, and the obsessive behaviour of Captain Ahab in Moby Dick – all show how the sea can push sailors over the brink.
The first and only book written on the subject, Madness at Sea examines the causes of such behaviour: the physical factors of life at sea, as well as the psychological dynamics aboard ship. It looks at the cultural legacy of madness at sea, and brings the story right up to date with contemporary studies of crews taking part in today’s major races.’

4 thoughts on “Madness at Sea”

  1. Looks interesting, thank you. I was given ‘A Mile Down: The True Story of a Disastrous Career at Sea’ by David Vann for Christmas. A horribly fascinating book although not for the reasons its author intended I feel. I was also given ‘A Voyage for Madmen’ by Peter Nichols. One might perhaps sense a theme. My own view is that going sailing, like going for walks, is good for mental health.

    1. I think that’s broadly true. But we don’t want anyone unpredictable or dangerous on board do we? We need to be able to trust our comrades to keep us and the vessel safe…

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