I’m going to break the habit of a lifetime and recommend you read Denis Gorman’s book ‘A Voyage to the Sea’.
I first met Denis in 2008 when he was amongst 42 starters in the Jester Azores Challenge of that year. Like many of us rookie ocean sailors he shared the same uncertainties of not knowing whether he had what it took to sail to the Azores in a boat sub 30 feet and quite frankly not knowing whether we would return.
In his book he vividly describes the first site of land after nearly 14 days at sea and those first steps ashore knowing something in life had changed without being sure of what. Denis went on to cross the Atlantic in 2010 whilst I had to wait another 4 years for my opportunity.
A good book should make you stop for a moment, think about who you are, where you are going and from time to time draw a tear. Denis’s book does all of these in spades. This is not just a sailing book. He embodies what it takes to be a true single-handed ocean sailor as he takes you from his happy but troubled childhood as a 1960’s child of the Glasgow tenements to the Royal Navy and the Falklands War, Submariner, Cab driver, Bank Manager, losing all he had won before finally discovering everything he needed.
I had the pleasure of having a quiet cup of tea with Denis and Rory McDougal (probably one of the most unheard of and under rated ocean sailors of our time) on-board Lizzie-G. I saw the much quieter and thoughtful side of the man as motivations and dreams of sailing the Atlantic were discussed and shared.
One of Denis’s great contributions though is to share a post analysis of his fellow competitors, some successful and some not. It is a reminder that there is a special breed of sailor out there. At your peril think you can conquer an ocean. It lets us pass but not without testing our resolve.
Once opened I couldn't put the book down : as well as being a fascinating personal story, this is also a huge eye opener for whoever wants to embark is solo sailing ; thoroughly recommended
A really nice story that just keeps rattling along. I read it over two days and couldn’t put down. Highly recommended.
by Guy Waites
This book is right up there with the best of them. I couldn’t put it down, I was either brimming with emotions, on the edge of my chair, or laughing hysterically. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone, not just sailors. My wife read it and she loved it too.
by Bill Wardroper
I’m a housewife and mother of two grown-up sons and I’ve worked in a bank for the last 40 years. I have never been on a boat in my life and I’ve never done anything adventurous. When asked to read this by my husband, I was greatly surprised at how engrossing it was. A real eye-opener and a very entertaining read.
by Lynn Banks
I served in the South Atlantic war on board the hospital ship, Hydra. I was fascinated to read this account of how one of our capital ships got through it. The sailing stories are just riveting. A great story that I couldn’t put down.
by Steve Benford
I found the book a compulsive, gripping, and emotional read. I congratulate you Denis for having the inspiration and taking the time to write down your thoughts covering so many years. The recall of detail of your early life and right through the book is amazing. The section on the Falklands; especially the return journey into Portsmouth was very much a stark reminder of that time in 1982. I have to say the tears were rolling down my face particularly when recalling the situation on pages 102-4 of your book. The same is true in other parts of this book too… A job well done Denis. When are you starting book 2??
by Robert Clarry, Arundel
What a great read
Emotion, excitement and a great insight into your life. I normally need a holiday to be able to read a book but not for this one! Another great achievement in the life of Denis Gorman.... Can't wait for a sequel!
by Barry Royal