Off the Deep End: A History of Madness at Sea

Bloomsbury Publishing
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Confined in a small space for months on end, subject to ship's discipline and living on limited food supplies, many sailors of old lost their minds – and no wonder. Many still do.

The result in some instances was bloodthirsty mutinies, such as the whaleboat Sharon whose captain was butchered and fed to the ship's pigs in a crazed attack in the Pacific. Or mob violence, such as the 147 survivors on the raft of the Medusa, who slaughtered each other in a two-week orgy of violence. So serious was the problem that the Royal Navy's own physician claimed sailors were seven times more likely to go mad than the rest of the population.

Historic figures such as Christopher Columbus, George Vancouver, Fletcher Christian (leader of the munity of the Bounty) and Robert FitzRoy (founder of the Met Office) have all had their sanity questioned.

More recently, sailors in today's round-the-world races often experience disturbing hallucinations, including seeing elephants floating in the sea and strangers taking the helm, or suffer complete psychological breakdown, like Donald Crowhurst. Others become hypnotised by the sea and jump to their deaths.

Off the Deep End looks at the sea's physical character, how it confuses our senses and makes rational thought difficult. It explores the long history of madness at sea and how that is echoed in many of today's yacht races. It looks at the often-marginal behaviour of sailors living both figuratively and literally outside society's usual rules. And it also looks at the sea's power to heal, as well as cause, madness.
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About the author

Nic Compton is a widely published author, journalist and photographer. Formerly the Editor of Classic Boat magazine for 5 years, he then branched out into a freelance writing career and has written 5 books for Adlard Coles Nautical: Ultimate Classic Yachts (published to great acclaim),The Anatomy of Sail, Why Sailors Can't Swim, Iain Oughtred, and Titanic on Trial.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Bloomsbury Publishing
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Published on
Sep 21, 2017
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9781472941107
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Military / Naval
History / Social History
History / World
Nature / Ecosystems & Habitats / Oceans & Seas
Psychology / General
Psychology / Mental Health
Psychology / Psychopathology / General
Sports & Recreation / General
Sports & Recreation / Sailing
Sports & Recreation / Sociology of Sports
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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