Cover image for Fatal storm : the inside story of the tragic Sydney-Hobart race
Fatal storm : the inside story of the tragic Sydney-Hobart race
Mundle, Rob.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Camden, Me. : International Marine/McGraw-Hill, [1999]

Physical Description:
251 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV832 .M86 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
GV832 .M86 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
GV832 .M86 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
GV832 .M86 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
GV832 .M86 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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A gripping, first-hand account of the worst sailing disaster in recent history! Fatal Storm is a first-hand, edge-of-the-seat account of the awesome power of nature. Written by a seasoned journalist who covered the race, it contains haunting images that are both vivid andunforgettable--the scream of the wind, the roar of the waves, the last sight of a lost crewmember floating face down while his boat is swept helplessly away. Above all, it is a tale of raw adventure.

Author Notes

Rob Mundle is an experienced journalist, television personality, and sailor. He began his reporting career with Australia's national daily newspaper, the Australian, in 1964, and later went on to combine his passion for sailing with his skills as a journalist. He has covered the Sydney--Hobart Race thirty times and has participated three times. He has also reported on five America's Cups, three Olympics, and numerous other sailing events. In the 1980s he established a new career as a television reporter, commentator, and prime time news weatherman. He writes a weekly column for the Australian and contributes to magazines around the world.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Australia's prestigious Sydney-to-Tasmania regatta encountered disaster in December 1998, and Mundle's account leads a flotilla of four books slated for publication soon. A descriptive arrangement of witnesses' experiences, the book makes for harrowing shoreside reading, but Mundle doesn't analyze much the inevitable question of how the yachters got themselves into the middle of a hurricane. They had warning from forecasters that a cyclonic low pressure system was approaching the race route. Bad luck followed bad judgment as the system intensified directly over the fleet, subjecting it to 90-foot waves and 60-knot winds. Mundle collects the survivors' testimony in a boat-by-boat narrative that tracks rogue waves that dismasted, capsized, and sank several vessels, injuring dozens and killing six. Mundle justifiably heroizes Australia's high-tech rescue teams that kept the toll that low--but are their capabilities perhaps another factor that enables these Xtreme Adventure catastrophes that have marked the 1990s? If these "whys" occupy the forthcoming accounts, they'll build on the "whats" of the tragedy chronicled here. --Gilbert Taylor

Publisher's Weekly Review

Joining the summer's books on the treacherous Vend‚e Globe sailing race (Derek Lundy's The Godforsaken Sea and Pete Goss's Close to Wind), Mundle's effort is the first of three forthcoming titles about the 1998 Sydney-Hobart yachting race (Pocket is publishing Martin Dugard's account in September; Little, Brown will offers Bruce Knecht's next year). In that race, seven boats were abandoned, five sank, six people died and 55 sailors were hoisted by rescuers from the impetuous seas. Seasoned journalist Mundle, himself a three-time Sydney-Hobart veteran, writes a knowledgeable account of the 115 boats and 1135 competitors that left Sydney Harbor on December 26, having precious little warning about the brutal cyclone that awaited them in the perilous Bass Strait. When the seas began towering to the height of five-story buildings, sailors were tossed about their yachts like rag dolls in a malevolent washing machine. Mundle, who covered the race for Australian television, deliberately sails around the tempest of controversies that followed the event, preferring to treat the story as a straight job of blow-by-blow reportage. While his careful plotting of a dozen boats' travails is certainly of interest, a surreal sense of dispassion pervades the text like an eerie calm found in the eye of a storm. Nonetheless, moments of poignancy stand out. One strung-out sailor hallucinates a monkey sitting atop a jagged stump of mast, while several others vow that spending hours in a wrecked cabin full of vomit, diesel fuel and salt-water convinced them to change their lives. "I've been a pretty selfish bastard," says one chastened survivor. "Just ask my wife." 40,000 first printing. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This is the first of several expected books about the disastrous 1998 Sydney-to-Hobart yacht race. Only 44 of the 115 yachts that started the race finished, five yachts sank, seven were abandoned, six sailors died, and 57 racers had to be rescued from the hurricane-strength winds and up to 90' swells. Mundle, a sailor and journalist who reported the awful tragedy live on Australian TV, relies on 124 interviews with survivors to relive the terror and excitement of a storm every bit as fierce as that described in Sebastian Junger's Perfect Storm (LJ 5/15/97). He discusses weather conditions and Australian search-and-rescue operations as well. Though it doesn't really offer any nautical advice on how to weather extreme conditions, as does K. Adlard Coles's classic Heavy Weather Sailing (LJ 10/1/68), this tale should warn offshore sailors that there are indeed times when even best craft can founder. Sure to be popular in public libraries, this should be required reading for all ocean sailors.ÄJohn Kenny, San Francisco P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Forewordp. x
Prefacep. xii
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
Mapp. xvi
Part 1
1 Are You Doing the Hobart This Year?p. 3
2 History of the Great Racep. 21
3 The Anticipationp. 40
4 Sailing into a Brick Wallp. 57
5 The Cauldron Begins to Boilp. 73
Part 2
6 Destined for Disasterp. 93
7 AMSAp. 107
8 HMAS Newcastlep. 114
9 Winston Churchill, Part 1p. 118
10 Kingurrap. 125
11 Midnight Specialp. 135
12 Sword of Orionp. 145
13 B-52p. 163
14 Miintintap. 175
15 Business Post Naiadp. 182
16 Solo Globe Challengerp. 198
17 Winston Churchill, Part 2p. 208
Part 3
18 Racing to the Finishp. 229
Epiloguep. 239
Honor Rollp. 241
Publisher's Afterwordp. 248
About the Authorp. 252