Once is Enough, Paperback
3.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


This timeless classic is an exciting true story of survival against all odds. 'There was a sudden sickening sense of disaster. I felt a great lurch and heel, and a thunder of sound filled my ears.

I was conscious, in a terrified moment, of being driven into the front and side of my bunk with tremendous force.

At the same time there was a tearing cracking sound, as if Tzu Hang was being ripped apart, and water burst solidly, raging into the cabin.

There was darkness, black boards, and I fought wildly to get out, thinking Tzu Hang had already gone.

Then suddenly I was standing again, waist deep in water, and floorboards and cushions, mattresses and books were sloshing in wild confusion round me.' Miles Smeeton and his wife Beryl sailed their 46-ft Bermuda ketch, Tzu Hang, in the wild seas of Cape Horn, following the tracks of the old sailing clippers through the world's most notorious waters.

This is an exciting true story of survival against all odds, but it is also a thoughtful book which provides hard-learned lessons for other intrepid sailors. As Nevil Shute writes in his foreword: 'It has been left to Miles Smeeton to tell us in clear and simple language just where the limits of safety lie.'




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Classic account of yachting adventure in the 1950s. Miles and Beryl Smeeton, attempting to follow the track of the old grain ships from Australia to England via Cape Horn in their ketch <I>Tzu Hang</I>, are twice caught in storms in the Southern Ocean, capsized, dismasted, and forced to make for the coast of Chile. With the help of large quantities of colonial-era stiff upper lip, resourceful improvisation, seamanship, and sheer physical and mental toughness, they make it both times. Smeeton's account of the dangers they faced is rather understated by modern standards, but it's easy enough to read between the lines and get a sense of how difficult it would have been for any normal person to stay calm and carry out a rational survival plan under such circumstances. Of course, the Smeetons weren't exactly unused to danger. After climbing in the Himalayas and war service in the Western Desert and Burma, finding yourself in a disabled, waterlogged small boat 800 miles from the nearest land might seem like a walk in the park. Possibly...