An Ocean to Cross: Daring the Atlantic, Claiming a New Life

Liz Fordred, Author, Susie Blackmun, Joint Author International Marine Publishing $22.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-07-135504-9
Living far from the ocean in Rhodesia in 1980, Fordred and her husband, Pete, decided to sail across the Atlantic--even though neither of them knew how to sail, and they are both paraplegics due to accidents in their teens. With Olympic-sized will and the support of family, friends and the innumerable generous strangers who befriended them along the way, the resourceful pair built a yacht customized to suit their strengths, then refined, tested and refined it. As Fordred's down-to-earth narrative makes clear, she and Pete don't measure success simply by the result, but by the process of doing the work and maintaining the determination and courage to carry on. With wit and biting realism, Fordred describes the six challenging years it took her and her husband to prepare for their journey against formidable obstacles (particularly their lack of funds, lots of bureaucratic red tape and unrelenting public criticism). Her account of successes and setbacks vividly conveys how it felt to be in the hull of their ship breaking a sweat. The book may appeal more to readers seeking a story of inspiration over adversity rather than a straightforward adventure story, however, since the Fordreds' yearlong journey from South Africa to Florida, where they have since settled, receives less emphasis--perhaps because both the author and her readers know that once the Fordreds have reached the point of departure, absolutely nothing can stand in their way. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/04/2000
Release date: 09/01/2000
Paperback - 276 pages - 978-0-07-137394-4
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