The Long Way, Paperback Book
3.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


The Long Way is Bernard Moitessier's own incredible story of his participation in the first Golden Globe Race, a solo, non-stop circumnavigation rounding the three great Capes of Good Hope, Leeuwin, and the Horn.

For seven months, the veteran seafarer battled storms, doldrums, gear-failures, knock-downs, as well as overwhelming fatigue and loneliness.

Then, nearing the finish, Moitessier pulled out of the race and sailed on for another three months before ending his 37,455-mile journey in Tahiti.

Not once had he touched land.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 256 pages, 40 black & white illustrations, 8 maps
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Sailing
  • ISBN: 9780924486845

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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

This book is yet another sailing story and appeals on that basis. The last half of the book feels rushed as compared to the first half. The author never completely tells the full story, in my opinion. He mentions his wife, but doesn't go into detail about how she dealt with his decision to sail alone. He talks about his sailing buddies doing the same route at the same time, but never tells us what happens to them. There is a lot technical detail in both the narrative and the illustrations.

Review by

There is an old and, these days, rather politically incorrect joke about the first [insert nationality of your choice] man to win of the Tour de France, who was so pleased with himself he did a lap of honour and hasn't been heard from since. The humour derives from the transparent ridiculousness of the scenario, but that's in essence exactly what Bernard Moitessier did: this memoir, largely extracted from his ships logs, is the story of the Frenchman who, when leading the round the world yacht race and in the home straight, peeled off went round again. Only he didn't make it to the finish line first. Now that in itself would be a pretty extraordinary story - a certified classic sea-dog's yarn of the 20th Century - but because it happened in the wake (if you'll excuse the pun) of infinitely stranger behaviour from fellow competitor Donald Crowhurst, it has only ever achieved the lesser status of an interesting historical side-bar. For Moitessier's unexpected change of tack (if you'll excuse the pun) crystallised an even more bizarre - and tragic - chain of events which had been unfolding aboard Crowhurst's boat, the Teignmouth Electron. None of Crowhurst's story is covered here, however (at the time Moitessier was ploughing around the Cape of Good Hope none the wiser, so that's hardly surprising) but those interested in Crowhurst's tragic tale are warmly recommended The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst and the fine Channel 4 Film Deep Water, both of which also cover Moitessier's race in some detail. This is nonetheless a highly readable memoir of an unusually solitary man and, at times, is a vivid articulation of his his view of his place on the planet and his relationship with the elements. Moitessier was a genuine romantic, an anti-modernist to boot, and interlaced his narrative of the long journey (all good Boys' Own stuff) with quite profound ruminations on God, Grace, the Planet and the Eternal Horizon. To my surprise I found the book became less interesting as it progressed, when you would expect quite the contrary. However enthusiastic he is about ruminating on the place of man in the cosmos, Moitessier doesn't really explain, or embark upon any deep inner analysis of, his reasons for unexpectedly opting for another crack at the southern ocean over a tearful reunion with his wife and children. The treatment of that last part of the voyage is peremptory and the book finishes somewhat abruptly on an atoll in Tahiti. An interesting read, but I would recommend the Crowhurst story as a prelude.

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