“Left For Dead” memoir tells the story of how Nick survived the deadliest storm in the history of modern sailing
Nick Ward was Born in the small Hampshire village of Hamble, on the shores of The Solent and nearby Cowes, Isle of Wight.
Cowes, known world over as the Mecca of yacht racing and, in 1856, birthplace of “The America’s Cup”, regarded as the pinnacle of international yacht racing.
It was, therefore, inevitable that with this backdrop on his doorstep, that the sea, sailing, and all things nautical were to play a huge part in Nick’s life.
Taught to sail at four years of age by his father, Nick grew up in the dream world of competitive dinghy sailing, with National, International, World & Olympic champions around him.
The sailing world was Nick’s Oyster.
But Nicks ambitions were thwarted at 15 years of age when his hopes & dreams were devastated by the onset of a brain haemorrhage, which left him with a 50/50 percent chance of survival.
The five hour long, lifesaving operation was successful but left Nick with the deficiencies of a complete left side hemiplegia, and epilepsy.
With the support of his family, his friends and of Nick’s upbringing, his dreams of sailing and the extreme physical condition it gave him, he learned how to walk again, how to cope with epilepsy and a long, slow recovery, and how to cope with his new neurological and physical condition.
These disabilities did not prevent Nick from sailing, and slowly he was able to pursue some, if not all of his dreams and aspirations.
He used his knowledge of all things nautical with shore-based employment in the marine trade.
Also Nick helped professional skippers with yacht delivery and began racing larger yachts, these combined activities honed his fitness, and, aged 23 he was asked to crew aboard a yacht in 1979's prestigious and infamous Fastnet Race.
Nick was the 136th and last living survivor to be plucked from the Celtic Sea at 21.15 on 14th August 1979.
It was not until 25 years later that Nick met Sinead O'Brien and, as co-author, with much cajoling from her, together they wrote the visceral, multi award winning account Left For Dead the story of how Nick survived being left alone, adrift with a dying crewmate, in one of the worst storms in living memory.
Now retired after 35 years working in, and managing shore based marine chandleries, Nick has written many articles for yachting magazines, as well as one for National Geographic. Of late, Nick has taken to writing marine based fiction. Let The Games Begin (books 1 & 2) his first attempt.
He has also written a semi-autobiographical novel entitled Delivery by Sea, in which he describes what it is like to live with and cope with epilepsy and its myriad side effects; this is due to be published soon.
Nick is 35 years happily married to Chris, a retired Advanced Paediatric Neurosurgical Nurse Practitioner. They live in Hamble and have two children, Sam, who works and lives in Australia, and is an oceanographer, and Elizabeth, who works for the NHS Clinical Care Commission and is a “Learning Disabilities Specialist Practitioner”, caring for young people with learning disabilities and autism.
Praise for Left For Dead
Sunday Times Sports Book of the Year – Winner
William Hill Sports Book of Year UK - Nominated
“This blow by blow account of sailing into the eye of the storm is completely un-put-downable.”
The Sunday Times
“This account of sheer endurance bears haunting resemblance to mountaineer Joe Simpson’s Touching the Void.”
The Irish Times
“As you turn every page you sense through the fine writing how anticipation turned to exhilaration to mild panic and eventually to utter despair as events overtake them.”
“Straightforwardly written and without machismo….I don’t much care for macho books but the complicated puzzled moralities of this one, and the humane sweetness of its narrator make it something far better.”
“This gripping story…at times, reading it is like staring at a car wreck; the redemption comes in the lesson on human failings and, finally, forgiveness.”
“This tale of one man’s determination and courage in a time of absolute despair is not only utterly chilling but extremely moving and stays with the reader long after the last page has been turned.”
“This torrential narrative presents a remarkable saga that will have readers aching for eventual rescue. A harrowing, thrilling, first person tale of survival in the sea.”
Left for Dead: A&C Black (UK, Commonwealth) Bloomsbury (US & Canada)