In late December 1951, laden with passengers and nearly forty metric tons of cargo, the freighter S.S. Flying Enterprise steamed westward from Europe toward America. A few days into the voyage, she hit the eye of a ferocious storm. Force 12 winds tossed men about like playthings and turned drops of freezing Atlantic foam into icy missiles. When, in the space of twenty-eight hours, the ship was slammed by two rogue waves Ã¢â‚¬â€ solid walls of water more than sixty feet high Ã¢â‚¬â€ the impacts cracked the decks and hull almost down to the waterline, threw the vessel over on her side, and thrust all on board into terror.
Flying EnterpriseÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s captain, Kurt Carlsen, a seaman of rare ability and valor, mustered all hands to patch the cracks and then try to right the ship. When these efforts came to naught, he helped transfer, across waves forty feet high, the passengers and the entire crew to lifeboats sent from nearby ships. Then, for reasons both professional and intensely personal, and to the amazement of the world, Carlsen defied all requests and entreaties to abandon ship. Instead, for the next two weeks, he fought to bring Flying Enterprise and her cargo to port. His heroic endeavor became the worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s biggest news.
In a narrative as dramatic as the oceanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fury, acclaimed bestselling author Frank Delaney tells, for the first time, the full story of this unmatched bravery and endurance at sea. 300 pages PB