Book review: Extreme Sail by Oliver Dewar

Editor James Boyd thumbs through this hair-raising tome
Once upon a time 'Extreme Sail' was a column I wrote for Yachting World magazine, so it was with some intrigue to be reviewing a book of this same title by one of the budding writing talents within our profession - Oliver Dewar, journalist, experienced offshore yachtsman and now author. With a foreword by Dame Ellen MacArthur, Extreme Sail’s 160 pages and 155 photographs mostly do what they say on the tin. The tone is set by the cover - one of Jon Nash's phenomenal near monochrome images of Alex Thomson's Open 60 Hugo Boss submarining her way to Les Sables d'Olonne prior to the start of the last Vendee Globe. Subjects covered in the book include all the obvious shorthanded offshore territory - the Vendée Globe, Transat, Transat Jacques Vabre, OSTAR and Figaro as well as the fully crewed Volvo Ocean Race and now defunct Global Challenge. These are clearly subjects close to Dewar's heart and they provide great insight into this world of bravery, pain, endurance, aspiration, triumph and tragedy. In addition Extreme Cruising is also covered in a chapter at the rear of the book including practical advice for non-sailors thinking of giving this a whirl, along with a chapter dedicated to the Southern Ocean including a ‘Tourist Guide’ to the remote, watery wastes at the bottom of the world. Dewar is one of the few people we know to have been to the remote South Atlantic islands of Tristan da Cunha and thus his insight carries gravitas. Slightly at odds with the title of the book, particularly as they are the opening chapters, are the sections on inshore racing and the America's Cup. While these may be a little simplistic for weathered readers of thedailysail the way they are written is far from obvious and they are