Rousmaniere, John 1944-

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PERSONAL: Surname is pronounced "Ru-ma-near"; born March 10, 1944, in Louisville, KY; son of James A. (a fundraiser) and Jessie (Pierce) Rousmaniere; married Leah Ruth Robinson, May 21, 1989; children: William Pierce, Dana Starr. Education: Attended University of Pennsylvania, 1962-63; Columbia University, B.S. (with honors), 1967, M.A. (history), 1968; Union Theological Seminary, M.Div., 1988. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Episcopalian. Hobbies and other interests: Sailing.

ADDRESSES: Home and office—100-23 Hope St., Stamford, CT 06906-2507. Agent—Russell & Volkening, Inc., 50 West 29th St., New York, NY 10001.

CAREER: U.S. Military Academy, West Point, NY, assistant professor of history, 1970-72; Yachting, New York, NY, associate editor, 1972-77; Natural History, New York, NY, senior editor, 1978; freelance writer, editor and consultant, 1978—. Adjunct assistant professor of writing, College of New Rochelle, 1980-83; Union Theological Seminary, New York, NY, tutor, 1985-88. Member of editorial committee, Dolphin Book Club (Book-of-the-Month-Club), 1982—. Military service: U.S. Army, 1969-72; became first lieutenant.

MEMBER: Authors Guild, Authors League of America, New York Yacht Club.

AWARDS, HONORS: Gold medal for contributions to yachting, 1985; Distinguished Alumnus Award, East Woods School, 1987; Lawton Boating Safety award, Raytheon Co., 1989.


A Glossary of Modern Sailing Terms, Dodd, Mead (New York, NY), 1976, revised and updated edition, Putnam (New York, NY), 1989.

(With Dennis Conner) No Excuse to Lose: WinningYacht Races with Dennis Conner, Norton (New York, NY), 1978.

(Editor) The Enduring Great Lakes, Norton (New York, NY), 1979.

"Fastnet, Force 10," Norton (New York, NY), 1980, new edition published as "Fastnet, Force 10": The Deadliest Storm in the History of Modern Sailing, 2000.

(With the editors of Time-Life Books) The LuxuryYachts, Time-Life (Alexandria, VA), 1981.

The Annapolis Book of Seamanship, designed and illustrated by Mark Smith, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1983, 3rd revised edition, 1999.

America's Cup Book, 1851-1983, Norton (New York, NY), 1983.

Study Guide to the Annapolis Book of Seamanship, American Sailing Association (Marina Del Rey, CA), 1984.

The Sailing Lifestyle: A Guide to Sailing and Cruising for Pleasure, illustrated by Mark Smith, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1985.

The Golden Pastime: A New History of Yachting, Norton (New York, NY), 1986.

The Annapolis Book of Seamanship (video series), Creative Programming, 1986-88.

(Editor) Desirable and Undesirable Characteristics ofOffshore Yachts, Norton (New York, NY), 1987.

The Low Black Schooner: Yacht America, 1851-1945, Mystic Seaport Museum Stores (Mystic, CT), 1987.

(Editor) Technical Committee of the Cruising Club of American, Desirable and Undesirable Characteristics of Offshore Yachts, illustrated by Stephen L. Davis, W.W. Norton (New York, NY), 1987.

The Norton Sailor's Log, Norton (New York, NY), 1987.

A Picture History of the America's Cup, Mystic Seaport Museum Stores (Mystic, CT), 1989.

A Bridge to Dialogue, Paulist Press (Mahwah, NJ), 1991.

The Life and Times of the Equitable, Equitable Companies (New York, NY), 1995.

The Illustrated Dictionary of Boating Terms: 2,000Essential Terms for Sailors & Powerboaters, Norton (New York, NY), 1998.

After the Storm: True Stories of Disaster and Recovery at Sea,International Marine/McGraw-Hill (Camden, ME), 2002.

Also author of numerous articles for major boating periodicals; author of monthly seamanship column for SailNet, an online sailing magazine; contributor of the "Navigation" section to the Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia.

SIDELIGHTS: John Rousmaniere is an expert yachtsman who has written extensively on the subject. He is particularly well known as the author of the classic resource book The Annapolis Book of Seamanship. First published in 1983, a third edition appeared in 1999, to which Thom Burns, writing for the Great Lakes Cruising Club Web site, responded: "He continues to set the standard for excellence for sailing enthusiasts." Rousmaniere's decades of sailing, teaching, and writing experience are augmented by detailed illustrations and a clear layout, according to Burns, who concluded that "the result is a state-of-the-art resource which is easy to use, up-to-date, reliable and practical."

Rousmaniere's "Fastnet, Force 10" chronicles the 1979 disaster during the Fastnet yacht race between the Isle of Wight and Ireland. That year, a Force 10 gale swept across the Atlantic Ocean, dropping forty-foot waves on the boats, killing fifteen sailors, sinking five yachts, capsizing nineteen more, and causing more than half of the field of three hundred participating yachts to retire. Rousmaniere himself was aboard one of the ships during the storm, and so he was able to report on the incident with the authority of one directly involved. Robert Krisch, writing in the Los Angeles Times, called "Fastnet, Force 10" "a narrative worthy of the best sea literature." Washington Post Book World critic Peter Jay contended that "Rousmaniere's book is a useful, readable and thoroughly sane introduction to the basic facts, individual experiences and underlying issues of the 1979 Fastnet disaster. . . [It] is written in the good muscular style of a competent journalist with all the necessary sailing experience and specialist knowledge." A new edition of "Fastnet, Force 10" was published in 2000, with a new introduction by the author.

The infamous 1979 Fastnet disaster is only one of nearly a dozen famous calamities at sea featured in Rousmaniere's more recent book, After the Storm:True Stories of Disaster and Recovery at Sea. From the sea accident that drowned the English poet Percy Shelley in 1822 to the sinking of the Portland in Massachusetts Bay in 1898, which killed nearly two hundred people, Rousmaniere discusses each catastrophe in terms of extremes of weather, the sailing skills used to face it, the effect of the storm on victims and survivors, the myths that sprang from the disaster, and its larger consequences on communities and nations. "Every item is engrossing reading," proclaimed George Cohen in Booklist. A contributor to Publishers Weekly praised Rousmaniere's insights into the variety of human reaction to calamity, and relished the inclusion of digressions into history, literary criticism, and popular culture. "At once ominously desperate and unerringly hopeful, this book is a wise, generous read," the critic concluded.

Rousmaniere once told CA: "I continue to write about a variety of topics, from boating (both historical and instructional) to interfaith relations (A Bridge to Dialogue) to American history, in which I am doing an increasing amount of work."



Booklist, April 15, 2002, George Cohen, review of After the Storm: True Stories of Disaster and Recovery at Sea, p. 1376.

Book World, May 25, 1980, Peter Jay, review of "Fastnet, Force 10."

Choice, December, 1998, review of The IllustratedDictionary of Boating Terms, p. 668.

Globe and Mail (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), June 4, 1988.

Los Angeles Times, May 16, 1980; July 6, 1980.

Los Angeles Times Book Review, May 5, 1985.

New York Times, August 9, 1980.

Publishers Weekly, April 15, 2002, review of After theStorm, p. 52.

Religious Education, fall, 1996, review of A Bridge toDialogue, p. 614.

Religious Studies Review, January, 1993, review of ABridge to Dialogue, p. 59.

Washington Post Book World, May 25, 1980, Peter Jay, review of "Fastnet, Force 10."


Great Lakes Cruising Club, (May, 2000), Thom Burns, review of The Annapolis Book of Seamanship.

North U, (June 14, 2002), "North U Instructor Biography."*