Borrowed at the public library and read in a single day yesterday1. Despite its 194 pages it's a pretty short book—just printed in a way that makes it seem longer than it really is (I'm not complaining, I don't think that being longer would have made it better).

The book is an autobiographical work about an accident that sailor Florence Arthaud's had in October 2011, when she fell off her boat near the Cap Corse (northern tip of Corsica, in the Mediterranean). The actual events are recounted while Arthaud reminisces about past moments in her life as a sailor. These moments could be what she was thinking about during the three long hours she spent in the sea, without a life vest, until her miraculous rescue by a helicopter.

An unordered list of unordered thoughts:

  • Florence Arthaud seems to have been2 an incredible sailor! I'm impressed by her grit, individuality, ambition, achievements. I wouldn't say I admire or aspire to it, though—I find some of her writing and thoughts a bit too self-centered to my taste (not sure this is the right word but it'll do). Celebrities writing autobiographies often are3. Still: what a life!
  • I was surprised to notice that the book was published by Arthaud. Turns out Florence Arthaud was the daughter of Jacques Arthaud, director of the Arthaud publishing house, who also published books by the likes of Moitessier and Tabarly.
  • note to self: always wear a life vest, even if the sea is calm and it's only for a short outing on the deck! "It is said in Brittany that most drowned sailors are found with their fly open" (p.66)


  1. same day I finished L'exil et le royaume by Camus and Later by Stephen King

  2. she died in 2015 in a high-profile helicopter accident

  3. is this extreme ambition and individualism an effect or a cause of their fame?