Union Chapel speaker on shipwrecks

PHOTO CREDIT Author John Rousmaniere will speak at Union Chapel Sunday about sea disasters
Author John Rousmaniere will speak at Union Chapel Sunday about sea disasters

Best-selling author, historian and accomplished sailor John Rousmaniere will give a talk entitled “How to Write About Shipwrecks Without Becoming a Wreck Yourself” at Union Chapel on Sunday, August 20 at 10:30 a.m.

John has written extensively about maritime disasters and will discuss his career and how he coped with the emotional pressures produced by this work.

His book “Fastnet Force 10” is a first-person study of the infamous 1979 Fastnet Race storm in which 15 people died.  His experiences in that Fastnet Race led him to attend Union Theological Seminary, where he earned his Master of Divinity degree.  “After the Storm: True Stories of Disaster and Recovery at Sea” is his second “storm” book.  It examines the causes and consequences of storms at sea and how participants recover from their traumatic experiences.

Hailed as a “titan of yachting journalism,” John has written 30 books and hundreds of articles on a variety of topics aside from storms at sea including maritime history, seamanship, ocean racing, New York history, ecology, maritime photography and boating safety.  John’s extensive research for “Fastnet Force 10” prompted changes in yacht design and offshore safety equipment.

John has sailed more than 40,000 miles including nine Newport Bermuda Races, two Fastnet Races and three transatlantic races or cruises.  His extensive sailing experience, research and publications about the 1979 Fastnet storm led John to organize and participate in over 100 safety-at-sea and seamanship events.

John grew up in Cincinnati and Oyster Bay and currently lives in New York City with his wife, Leah Ruth Robinson.  He holds both B.S. and M.A. degrees from Columbia University as well as his degree from Union Theological Seminary, where he met Leah.

A recipient of many awards and honors, he has earned the Cruising Club of America’s Richard S. Nye Trophy, US Sailing’s Timothea Larr Award, Mystic Seaport’s W.P. Stephens Award and the New York Yacht Club’s Henry H. Anderson Award for Volunteerism.

John and Leah have visited Shelter Island before, but this will be his first talk at Union Chapel.

The guest soloist for the service will be violinist Dan Skabeikis.  Dan has a wide-ranging repertoire from classical violin to folk fiddle and regularly performs on the East End.

Submitted by Union Chapel in the Grove