A Mile Down: The True Story of a Disastrous Career at Sea by David Vann
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
David Vann is on holiday in Turkey when he comes across a 90-foot yacht for sale. In an impetuous moment, he decides that this boat will be the one that helps him fulfil his long-held desire to own a boat of his own. He manages to raise $150,000 after begging and borrowing money from family and friends and maxing out his credit cards and sets about repairing and renovating the boat. The only problem is that the guy who runs the boatyard sees him as an easy target and ends up charging him half a million dollars for what is frankly an appalling job. With his out of control debt and the stress of everything, he wonders if he is going to follow the same tragic path as his father
But finally, he has his boat and the beginnings of a business. Sailing with a crew they are hit by a huge storm that destroys their rudder. Helpless and at the mercy of the storm, a ship comes alongside to tow them to safety. Alive but boat less, he manages to forget about anything marine for a while until another opportunity arises and he buys another boat.
There were some parts about this book that I liked and there was a fair amount that grated. You could tell he was going to be ripped off from day one on his renovations on the vessel, and whilst you need to trust those that are doing work for you, he seemed to have an unbelievable level of naivety. What salvages the book though is the description and drama of what are completely terrifying moments of almost-disaster at sea. It is worth reading just for those parts. Overall not bad, but not great.
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