From a child of the Glasgow tenements to a single-handed transatlantic yachtsman.
By Denis Gorman.
'A Voyage to the Sea' starts with a dreaming boy in the rough 1960s Glasgow tenements. Denis takes you vividly from one part of his life to the next. His ability to convey intense emotions in a few sentences had me in tears on multiple occasions. The word pictures he drew took me completely out of this world and on to a boat in the middle of the Atlantic, or to the Falkland Islands War staring straight at a burning, sinking ship.
The whole book reads like poetry and is incredibly hard to put down. Trust me, I tried once or twice, but after a couple of days (sometimes hours) I was tugged back in by the sheer force of needing to know what was next in store for Denis. Will he find his father in the throngs of people all looking for their loved ones coming home from the Falklands? Was he going to make it across the Atlantic in one piece? Will his children ever see him again?
This book is not just for the sailors out there. Denis regularly adds neat little descriptions of sailing terms that are short enough for the hardest of sailors to get through and descriptive enough for the most land-lubbery of land lubbers to understand. The emotions that come through the book are honest and clear. I'm glad I will never have to physically sail single-handed across an ocean to know what it feels like. Denis definitely took care of that for me.
Family is a big part of Denis' life so it was also a big part of the book. Even if his childhood wasn't always the greatest he still had plenty of love to keep him going and dreaming. Love from a grandmother that you can feel through every word and action. Fatherly love that kept him sane during long periods at sea. Then later on it was love for his own children, who waited patiently for his return. And a deep love and respect for his boats who carry him through the thick of it.
He also offers a lot of insights into other sailor's experiences whether it be his 18 year old crew mate holding on to dear life during an attack on their ship in the Falklands War, or his single-hander fellow fleet members getting ready for the long journey ahead of them, one of these was Rory McDougall on his tiny Tiki 21 (in the 2010 Jester Challenge). You get a deep look into a sane (if you can call any single-handed sailor really sane) man's deepest thoughts as he battles with not just the ocean and her glorious force but his own mind and body limitations. Making the right decision on your own can be hard for anyone. Making it in the middle of the ocean can be life or death.
This book shows that determination and will can get you to your wildest dreams and even though you may find yourself stuck in an office job you hate, you can still find a way to live your dreams. If you want to feel, smell, hear, taste what it's like to be pushed to your limits, grab a copy of this book and read it.
- Elizabeth Dal Bon (young sailor of square riggers and Wharram catamarans)
An inspirational tale of following your dream
Denis Gorman's 'A Voyage to the Sea' is an inspirational tale of following your dream, despite the set-backs that life can throw at you, and is delivered in a well-paced narrative that military historians and deep-water sailors will enjoy in equal measure. An inspirational page-turner that is easy to read and hard to put down.- Jake Kavanagh (freelance boating writer, Sailing Today Magazine)
Emotional, motivational and very entertaining
I just loved it. Insights and humour give it depth that many books lack. It is emotional, motivational and very entertaining. My wife picked it up and in turn, couldn't put it down, a real accolade.- Pete Goss MBE
I highly recommend it
Denis mentions Roger Taylor (author) helped him with advice and editorial work with the manuscript. Whether it is this magic touch, or Denis's own abilities, honed by years of reading, the end result is a book that at times brought tears to my eyes and at other times made me laugh. It is the book's humanity that makes it such a good read and I highly recommend it.- Annie Hill (author of 'Voyaging on a Small Income')