Once is Enough [EPUB]
05 February 2014, 11:38
2014 | EPUB | 4.02MB
When Tzu Hang, a 46-foot ketch, set sail from Melbourne in December 1956 bound for England, Miles and Beryl Smeeton, their Siamese cat, Pwe, and their friend, John Guzzwell, had little concept of the challenges or the terrors that awaited them. At that time very few small sailboats had successfully rounded Cape Horn, and none had sailed as far south as Tzu Hang--just north of the Antarctic iceberg limit.
Six weeks later, on the night of February 12, in the icy, angry seas several hundred miles west of Cape Horn, Tzu Hang was caught from astern by a huge wave that somersaulted her. Beryl Smeeton, who had been alone at the tiller, was thrown thirty yards into the sea. Her lifeline broken, and suffering a scalp wound and a broken collarbone, she managed to swim to the wreckage of the mast and rigging in the water and pull herself close to the boat where Miles and John could heave her on board. Tzu Hang was a shambles: the tiller, rudder, doghouse, anchor, compass, and dinghies had all been ripped away; the masts had broken off level with the deck, and a tangled mass of wire shrouds, the masts, and the booms spread over the deck and into the water; and Tzu Hang was half-filled with water and close to sinking. The pumps were clogged with debris, so the laborious process of removing water from Tzu Hang--twelve hours of near-constant bailing--had to be done bucket by bucket. Working beyond exhaustion, the crew salvaged what they could, built a new doghouse and masts, fashioned a jury rig, and five weeks later sailed into Arauco Bay on the Chilean coast.
After ten months of making repairs to Tzu Hang in a Chilean navy yard, Miles and Beryl Smeeton (with Pwe but without John Guzzwell) sailed again toward Cape Horn and once again were capsized, dismasted, and nearly sunk by a rogue wave. Again, they survived the disaster and sailed 2,000 miles to Valparaiso, Chile.
One of the most gripping sea stories of all time, Once Is Enough recounts the adventures of Tzu Hang's crew. When it was first published in 1959, this tale of struggle and determination electrified the sailing world. What keeps it fresh and captivating is not just Smeeton's vivid re-creation of the sea's fury; his eloquent descriptions of life at sea and his colorful observations of the many people and places encountered during their journey make Once Is Enough timeless reading for sailors and armchair adventurers alike.
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