A Voyage For Madmen Book Review

A Voyage For Madmen You May recognize this book cover. That’s because many sailors all over the world have read through it’s pages and discovered a true story about nine men raced around the world. A Voyage For Madmen is a well thought title for this story. It really was an adventure of a lifetime. I had not heard of it or had any intention of reading it until a friend of mine (who is an avid sailor himself) recommended it to me. If you haven’t heard of this book either, don’t worry, you’ll hear about it now.


The Cliff’s Notes Version:

The true story of the 1968 oceanic adventure of nine sailors who set off in a race to single-handedly circumnavigate the globe nonstop–something that had never been done before–and their obsessive desire to test the limits of human endurance. A Voyage for Madmen , Peter Nichols calls his book, and he’s not wrong. Most were woefully ill-prepared. One competitor, Chay Blyth, had never sailed before; the moment he lost sight of land, he was lost. There were no webcams then, or satellite navigation. Radios generally broke down, and though some of these sailors knew more or less where they were, there were long periods when no one else did. This was a race that had never been done before. Talk about Crazy! Each of the nine men came from different circumstances and had a unique experience in the race.

Other Viewers Comments About the Book:

An amazing book – the story of an around the world sailing race inspired by Sir Francis Chichester’s solo circumnavigation in 1966-1967. Nine men began the journey and Nichols tells a great story based mainly on their logs of their individual struggles, perils and thoughts. It’s the thoughts that are so fascinating – from euphoria to despair and all points in between.

The reasons for entering the race are almost as interesting as the tales of the sailing. One man didn’t even know how to before he left.

He tells these nine stories extremely well – I found myself not wanting to put the book down. For heaven’s sake don’t read the last chapter or the epilogue before you finish, it will spoil the whole thing.

Terry’s Opinion

This book was a good read.

Recommend it? Definitely.

Keeps you on the edge of your seat? At times, but less than would expect for the back story.

Learned Anything? Absolutely. Practice, practice, practice sailing. A lot. Generally you need lots of experience sailing before you attempt a sailing trip longer than two days on the open ocean. You definitely need as much experience as possible before setting out a solo around the world. You can never be too prepared whether you’re setting out for a two hour sail on the lake or anything longer.

Click Here to Find the Book.

This book is an interesting read and makes you appreciate all the modern technology we have to sail with today. Let me know what you think about this book. Leave a comment below so we can hear your thoughts about the book.



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  1. efpierce says

    What a harrowing story! I’m fascinating by books like this as they are true to life, adventure dramas that show the human spirit in it’s most raw form. I’m going to see if there is an ebook version so I can get started reading it tonight.

  2. matt n. says

    Where can I get this book? It sounds like a really good read and the adventure alone seems incredible! So, not all of them made it back? Does that mean some had perished or decided to call off the quest?

    1. getwet says

      The link to find the book on Amazon.com is above, in the article. Only one comes back, but I can’t say what happens, otherwise I’ll be giving it away. ~Terry

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