Sailor details disastrous journey-ending 'Reckoning at Sea' with a whale

Jun 18, 2013, 12:41 ET from EditPros LLC

DAVIS, Calif., June 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Sailor Max J. Young made front-page newspaper headlines and internationally televised news coverage one year ago following his dramatic rescue at sea. As the hours agonizingly ticked away, Young was preparing to drown until a freighter rescued him minutes before his sailboat, Reflections, sank thousands of feet to the bottom of the ocean.

Young had been sailing alone the night of June 12, 2012, on a northerly course through choppy swells 60 miles off the coast of Baja California, Mexico. He was bound for San Francisco, heading home with only 490 miles remaining on the final leg of a remarkably adventurous 36,660-mile circumnavigation of the globe that he began 12 years earlier. Without warning, a gray whale that likely had been feeding in the depths below breached and landed with full force on the port side stern of the sailboat, causing irreparable damage.

"The bow of the boat lifted, the way it would if I had hit a submerged rock," Young said. "As surprised as I was, I could clearly see and feel everything that just occurred, as if it were taking place in slow motion. I could see the whale's enormous head, and its dark blackish gray eye. I had the feeling the whale must have seen me also."

In those desperate, lonely hours, Young had his reckoning at sea as he contemplated the nightmarish end of his lifelong dream of sailing around the world. He describes that journey in detail in his new book Reckoning at Sea: Eye to Eye With a Gray Whale -- A 12-year Circumnavigation, written in collaboration with Marti Smiley Childs and Jeff March.

Young and his family befriended scores of welcoming people in exotic lands, and experienced numerous cultures firsthand. Along the way, they weathered fierce storms, and mistakes by inexperienced crew members put their lives in jeopardy. Young battled serious illness, and had two encounters with pirates. The September 2013 edition of Reader's Digest will contain a story about Young's circumnavigation adventure.

Reckoning at Sea: Eye to Eye With a Gray Whale (ISBN 978-1-937317-11-9, EditPros LLC, distributed by Ingram Book Co.) is available in print and e-book forms worldwide through bookstores and online sellers, including and

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Marti Childs or Jeff March, 530-759-2000,