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Reckoning at Sea: Eye to Eye with a Gray Whale

A sailor’s nightmare

A year after a breaching gray whale landed on his 50-foot sailboat 60 miles off Mexico, Max Young has documented a voyage that ended in disaster.“Reckoning at Sea: Eye to Eye With a Gray Whale” (EditPros, $14.68 paperback, $6.99 digital) is both a travelogue and a life-and-death adventure tale. Young left San Francisco in 2000 and had logged 36,660 nautical miles before a final leg to San Diego that would complete a 12-year circumnavigation. He was 490 miles from finishing when a quiet, star-lit night was shattered as the 35-ton whale landed on deck, snapping the radio mast, disabling the rudder and cracking the hull. His three bilge pumps struggled to keep up with the seawater, the zipper in his survival suit was broken, and his life raft wouldn’t inflate. Young raced against time to save his boat and his life.

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November 2013 issue