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Book cover of A Mile Down: The True Story of a Disastrous Career at Sea

A Mile Down: The True Story of a Disastrous Career at Sea

by David Vann

Publisher: Da Capo Press
Pages: 236
Paperback
ISBN: 9781560257103






Available to Buy

Overview of A Mile Down: The True Story of a Disastrous Career at Sea

If you've ever owned a sailboat or had a friend who did, you know how it begins: with a dream. You dream about the ship, and gradually the dream consumes you. Practical considerations lose all meaning ... until, inevitably, the dream morphs into a nightmare. David Vann is familiar with that nightmare. His begins in Turkey: a thirty-year-old tourist, he stumbles across the steel frame of a ninety-foot sailboat that cries out to be built. From friends, family, and credit cards, he borrows the $150,000 to construct the ship. The Turkish builders take shameless advantage of him, eventually charging him over $500,000. On the edge of financial ruin, Vann starts a chartering business. But, when some new part of the ship isn't falling apart, he encounters freak storms. As his debts escalate, Vann begins to wonder if he is merely repeating his father's dreams and failures at sea¬ówhich ended with his father's suicide. At once a page-turning true story of adventure on the open ocean and an archetypal tale of one man's attempt to overcome fate and realize his dream, A Mile Down is an unforgettable story of struggle and redemption by a writer at the top of his form.

Synopsis of A Mile Down: The True Story of a Disastrous Career at Sea

If you’ve ever owned a sailboat or had a friend who did, you know how it begins: with a dream. You dream about the ship, and gradually the dream consumes you. Practical considerations lose all meaning ... until, inevitably, the dream morphs into a nightmare.

David Vann is familiar with that nightmare. His begins in Turkey: a thirty-year-old tourist, he stumbles across the steel frame of a ninety-foot sailboat that cries out to be built. From friends, family, and credit cards, he borrows the $150,000 to construct the ship. The Turkish builders take shameless advantage of him, eventually charging him over $500,000. On the edge of financial ruin, Vann starts a chartering business. But, when some new part of the ship isn’t falling apart, he encounters freak storms. As his debts escalate, Vann begins to wonder if he is merely repeating his father’s dreams and failures at sea—which ended with his father’s suicide. At once a page-turning true story of adventure on the open ocean and an archetypal tale of one man’s attempt to overcome fate and realize his dream, A Mile Down is an unforgettable story of struggle and redemption by a writer at the top of his form.

Library Journal

The sea can be a brutal and unforgiving place, and Vann has certainly felt the rough edge of it. A writer and former lecturer at Stanford, he purchased a boat in Turkey and began a life as a charter captain in the Mediterranean, then leveraged and bought a bigger boat. Then an employee made a mistake that cost Vann $48,000, and there were licensing and insurance issues. The boat developed mechanical problems and had to be towed to Morocco. After a spell of working in a dot-com, Vann somehow found more financing, restarted the charter business, bought another boat, which of course sank in a storm off Florida's Gulf Coast. This is an unabashed, undiluted, seemingly endless tale of failure and disaster, cleverly edited to prove that the hard times were simply owing to bad luck, the dangerous romance of the sea, and the incompetence of his Third World boat builders. This cautionary tale is not calculated to create pleasure; instead, it creates horror and a strong urge to keep one's job on land. Possibly appropriate for maritime collections.-Edwin B. Burgess, U.S. Army Combined Arms Research Lib., Fort Leavenworth, KS Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

About the Author, David Vann

David Vann's work has been published in the Atlantic Monthly and other magazines and has won numerous awards. He has taught at Stanford and Cornell and currently teaches travel and adventure writing online for AllLearn.org, a consortium of Oxford, Stanford, and Yale. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 200-ton Master's License and has sailed more than 40,000 miles offshore.

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Editorials

Library Journal

The sea can be a brutal and unforgiving place, and Vann has certainly felt the rough edge of it. A writer and former lecturer at Stanford, he purchased a boat in Turkey and began a life as a charter captain in the Mediterranean, then leveraged and bought a bigger boat. Then an employee made a mistake that cost Vann $48,000, and there were licensing and insurance issues. The boat developed mechanical problems and had to be towed to Morocco. After a spell of working in a dot-com, Vann somehow found more financing, restarted the charter business, bought another boat, which of course sank in a storm off Florida's Gulf Coast. This is an unabashed, undiluted, seemingly endless tale of failure and disaster, cleverly edited to prove that the hard times were simply owing to bad luck, the dangerous romance of the sea, and the incompetence of his Third World boat builders. This cautionary tale is not calculated to create pleasure; instead, it creates horror and a strong urge to keep one's job on land. Possibly appropriate for maritime collections.-Edwin B. Burgess, U.S. Army Combined Arms Research Lib., Fort Leavenworth, KS Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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