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La Longue route - Seul entre mers et ciels…

La Longue route - Seul entre mers et ciels (utgåvan 1971)

av Bernard Moitessier

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
243687,370 (4.06)7
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.… (mer)
Titel:La Longue route - Seul entre mers et ciels
Författare:Bernard Moitessier
Info:[Paris] : Arthaud, 1971.
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek


The Long Way av Bernard Moitessier

  1. 10
    Sailing Alone around the World av Joshua Slocum (thorold)
    thorold: Moitessier named his boat after Slocum: a 60s French environmentalist and a crusty old New England skipper might sound rather different types, but they do share a low-tech, soap-free approach to long-distance sailing, and regard land as a necessary inconvenience.… (mer)
  2. 00
    The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst av Nicholas Tomalin (bluepiano)
    bluepiano: It was the Tomalin book led me to Moitessier's, and if you've not gathered from The Long Way that Moitessier was writing of a keenly-contended contest, the book on Crowhurst gives the context. And so will a more general book on the race: A Voyage for Madmen, by Peter Nichols. All three books are worth reading.… (mer)

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This is an interesting story (though other stories about the Golden Globe Race should be read first). Moitessier writes well, and with detail. When reading, I felt that he did not sufficiently explain his decision to keep going—but this is addressed in the last chapters.

> Caught unawares, a flying fish shoots straight up in a twenty foot leap into the air. A huge barracuda takes off after it and snatches the flying fish at the top of the arc. The really amazing thing was seeing the barracuda contorting its entire body and beating its tail, modifying its trajectory to follow the prey, which had angled off to the left at the top of its leap. I felt sorry for the little one, but was so struck by the terrible beauty of a master-stroke that I let out a big 'Aaah!'

> The stars are twinkling very brightly up there in the night. When I was a kid, an old Indochinese fisherman explained to me why the stars twinkle, and why they twinkle very strongly when the wind is going to come back. But I can't tell that story tonight, I'm too sleepy.

> Joshua passes through groups of more than a hundred of these very little birds, about the size of robins, with silvery plumage, whose quick turns and sideslips remind me of swallows before a storm. Their undersides are white, the tails dark grey, and a big W marks the tops of their wings. They zig-zag along the water, often putting a leg down as if to help them turn. No relation to the tiny black and white petrels, who play in the air as lightly as butterflies. They too often turn by pushing a foot against the water.

> I hear familiar whistlings and hurry out, as always when porpoises are around. I don't think I've ever seen so many at once. The water is white with their splashing, furrowed in all directions by the knives of their dorsal fins. There must be close to a hundred. … A tight line of 25 porpoises swimming abreast goes from stern to stem on the starboard side, in three breaths, then the whole group veers right and rushes off at right angles, all the fins cutting the water together and in the same breath taken on the fly. I watch, wonderstruck. More than ten times they repeat the same thing. Even if the sun were to return, I could not tear myself away from all this joy, all this life, to get out the Beaulieu. I have never seen such a perfect ballet. And each time, it is to the right that they rush off, whipping the sea white for thirty yards. They are obeying a precise command, that is for sure. I can't tell if it is always the same group of 20 or 25, there are too many porpoises to keep track. They seem nervous; I do not understand. The others seem nervous too, splashing along in zig-zags, beating the water with their tails, instead of playing with the bow, the way they usually do. The entire sea rings with their whistling. … Something pulls me, something pushes me. I look at the compass. Joshua is running downwind at 7 knots straight for Stewart Island, hidden in the stratus. The steady west wind had shifted around to the south without my realizing it. The course change was not apparent because of the quiet sea, without any swell, on which Joshua neither rolled nor tossed. Usually, Joshua always lets me know of course changes without my having to look at the compass if the sky is overcast. This time, she couldn't. … There are as many porpoises as before. But now they play with. Joshua , fanned out ahead, in single file alongside, with the very lithe, very gay movements I have always known. And then something wonderful happens: a big black and white porpoise jumps ten or twelve feet in the air in a fantastic somersault, with two complete rolls. And he lands flat, tail forward. Three times he does his double roll, bursting with a tremendous joy, as if he were shouting to me and all the other porpoises: 'The man understood that we were trying to tell him to sail to the right … you understood … you understood … keep on like that, it's all clear ahead!' … My porpoises have been swimming around Joshua for over two hours. The ones I have met in the past rarely stayed more than a quarter of an hour before going on their way. When they leave, all at once, two of them remain behind until twilight, a total of five full hours. They swim as if a little bored, one on the right, the other on the left. For three hours longer they swim like that, each isolated on his own side, without playing, setting their speed by Joshua 's, two or three yards from the boat. I have never seen anything like it. Porpoises have never kept me company this long. I am sure they were given the order to stay with me until Joshua was absolutely out of danger.

> Plymouth so close, barely 10,000 miles to the north … but leaving from Plymouth and returning to Plymouth now seems like leaving from nowhere to go nowhere.

> Lots of people believe that the bulldozer and the concrete mixer don't think. They're wrong: they do think. They think that if they don't have any work to do, they won't earn any money, and then their slaves won't be able to buy the fuel and oil they need to go on living and go on thinking serious thoughts. They think human beings are pretty retarded, still making their babies in joy and love and pain. Their procreation technique is much more efficient: they work flat out without ever getting tired, and that means profits, and their slaves hurry to make more bulldozers and concrete mixers which are born fully grown, ready to work without wasting a minute

> Our nation would not collect gold medals at the Olympics, but the gold medal supermen would listen to our anthem. And they would seek citizenship so as not to be superior any more. Then the manufacturers of cars, and oil, and super giant planes, and bombs, and generals, and all-the-rest would gradually begin to feel that the turning has been finally taken, that it is a thousand times truer to have men guided by heart and instinct than the twisted gimmicks of money and politics. ( )
  breic | Mar 28, 2020 |
Je n'y connais rien, ni à la mer, ni à la voile, sauf ce que d'autres bouquins m'ont appris. Mais Moitessier m'a appris l'humilité devant les éléments et devant
soi-même, devant l'idée que l'on vit sa vie tout à fait - ou bien autant que possible - en harmonie avec les éléments. J'aime bien son style nonchalant, avec des clopes de temps en temps et du café souvent, pour bien savourer le moment, et à l'aide duquel il décrit la vie en mer d'une facon qui est compréhensible pour tout le monde.
1 rösta Kindlegohome | Oct 17, 2018 |
A prime example of a book not meeting expectations. The story of Moitessier's spiritual approach to sailing and his decision to continue his circumnavigation beyond is well known and documented. Unfortunately, and perhaps because the english-version of the book has been translated, the book moves from straight forward accounts of sailing distance to philosophical ramblings that do little to inspire. ( )
  kenno82 | May 20, 2018 |
As ElectricRay points out, Moitessier is most famous (in England at least) for his decision to withdraw from the 1968-9 round the world yacht race and keep on sailing. The perfect sixties gesture: a giant peace-symbol thrust in the face of the nasty capitalist Sunday Times and the terrible principle of competition. The fact that he finally went ashore in that classic drop-out's paradise, Tahiti, just made it better, especially since he immediately became involved in a campaign to stop the authorities concreting everything around the harbour there. My hero!

Reading his book again several decades later, I have to admit that I still have a lot of admiration for him, even though the sixties were a long time ago. He appears callous in summarily abandoning his wife and stepchildren, but they were probably tough enough to cope (from what Françoise said in interviews long after the event, she knew that he was bound to go off on his own sooner or later). He never really intended to take part in a race: it was thrust upon him by the Sunday Times when they found out that he, Loïck Fougeron and Bill King were planning nonstop solo round-the-world attempts. His vision was of a little band of friends pursuing their individual struggles with the elements and giving each other moral support along the way: typically, as soon as he knew that the eyes of the world's press would be on them, he got rid of his radio transmitter. Later in the book, worried by the lack of news of his friends, he reflects how nice it would be if there were a "talkie-walkie" that would allow skippers to have private boat-to-boat conversations without the world listening in. No satellite phones in 1968!

There's a lot of good stuff in the book, quite apart from the big adventure story. I enjoyed his description of how he spent the preparation time in Plymouth getting rid of unnecessary gear, whilst the others were all stocking up their boats with every possible item they might need in six to eight months at sea. Moitessier was clearly a real minimalist. No engine, mooring ropes, or spare anchors; nothing electrical apart from a portable tape recorder and a small shortwave receiver; the minimum of food. Once he had estimated his consumption after a few weeks at sea, he even started to throw out some of what he had brought to lighten the boat further: he was still happily tossing stuff overboard as late as his second passage of the Cape of Good Hope. Leaving Françoise behind, and even the quirky proposal to offer the proceeds of the book to the Pope, both seem to be in line with this delight in tossing things overboard.

A lot of the book goes in a slightly mystical direction as he reflects on his relationship to the boat, the Earth, and the elements. Some of this is a bit maudlin: all the stuff about seabirds and dolphins, for instance. However, the Cape Horn chapters are quite something: there's a magnificent extended description of standing by the mast watching an approaching gale that turns into a gloriously unselfconscious sex-scene between him and the mighty ocean. More D.H. Lawrence than Herman Melville, but with a decidedly French twist. And the descriptions of his inner debate as he tries to decide whether or not to return to Europe after passing Cape Horn are wonderful stream-of-consciousness stuff, clearly taken straight from his log. He never really explicitly discusses why he reached the decision he did (in the end, it looks as though he left it to the wind to decide), but it does give you a fascinating insight into what it must have been like for him to struggle with that decision.

On a more prosaic level, the book comes with a long technical appendix packed with good advice for anyone brave enough to want to follow his low-tech approach to sailing. Book and appendix are illustrated with Moitessier's clear, simple, drawings, and there is also a good selection of colour photos, intriguingly presented without captions (in the French 1971 edition, at least).

Very much of its time, a little naïve and solipsistic in its world-view, but still definitely one of the better things that came out of the sixties. ( )
2 rösta thorold | Aug 14, 2012 |
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. ( )
2 rösta ElectricRay | Jul 9, 2008 |
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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.

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