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Father's Day read: Rick Dodson's story


Thanks to NZ Booklovers for a candid review of my latest book: Storms Ahead Rick Dodson: America’s Cup champion to Paralympian, by Rebecca Hayter

Review written by Peta Stavelli, NZ Booklovers:

I guess the title gives away the game, but it still comes as a shock to the reader that a man so seemingly invincible eventually succumbs to a devastating illness. From the beginning of her book about the former America’s Cup strategist, Rebecca Hayter paints a picture of a boy who developed his winning strategy at an early age. Sometimes, it’s not a pretty picture, and that all-consuming desire to win can present as an unlikeable arrogance. It was at these times that I was glad the title had given the clue, and I remained reading until the end, perhaps to find some redemption for the central subject. I am not a win-at-all-costs person, and for much of Rick Dodson’s epic sailing career I lived outside New Zealand, so I didn’t know a great deal about him. However, I understand the world of the international competitive sailor, courtesy of some time spent living with three Round the World sailors who were taking some time from the yachting circuit to help build a boat in Tasmania. They were lovely guys, but boy did they like to party. And this is a theme which runs through the book. That said, Hayter, herself a sailor, the former editor of Boating New Zealand and author of five books, including the excellent Wild Seas to Greenland; who has lived in this world and understands it and the characters that inhabit it, well - who better to write this book? Her knowledge of the yachting industry and her background as a journalist contributes greatly to its success. Without her skill, I would have jumped ship earlier. This would have been a shame because Rick Dodson’s stated goal for writing the book was to get the message out to as many people as possible that there is life after a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. Choosing Hayter as his writer therefore was a great strategy for the master strategist, Rick Dodson. I did complete the book, and I learnt a great deal about some of the more controversial personalities of the New Zealand yachting scene as well. Sir Russell Coutts, for example. And Brad Butterworth. Both of these men have often been reviled for what has been seen as their defection from New Zealand’s America’s Cup team. I also learnt a great deal about people who have been taught a devastating blow by life after an accident or illness robbed them of their expected paths. I learnt that it takes guts and determination and a host of loyal people who have never - and will never - forget your worth, to help such a person to go on. So there you go, Rick Dodson. For what it’s worth, for this reader at least, you’ve just completed another successful campaign.

Review written by Peta Stavelli, NZ Booklovers

An excellent choice for Father's Day: Storms Ahead - Rick Dodson: America's Cup champion to Paralympian, by Rebecca Hayter. The story of one of New Zealand's great sailing careers. Available for $39.95 plus postage from:

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