Moitessier: A Sailing Legend – By Jean-Michel Barrault
Introduction by Peter Nichols
By most standards, Bernard Moitessier was a nut. Indeed, the first words of this book are, “‘He’s mad!'” uttered by a stunned watch officer whose ship, anchored in Cape Town, had just been plugged by a message-bearing missile. The bearded Frenchman, his gray hair whipped by the breeze, had lobbed a weighted note bearing the words, “I am continuing non-stop toward the Pacific Islands because I am happy at sea, and perhaps also to save my soul.”
The author was a close friend of Moitessier’s for 36 years, so the reader gains new insight to the man’s quixotic nature, along with the basic facts: childhood in Indochina, the rootless wandering, the inability to maintain a steady job. The book also documents the man’s personal struggles with fame and his strained personal relationships, including those with the author.
Sheridan House; 256 pages; $19.95.