In this fascinating piece, Stewart Brand recounts the journeys of three sailors competing in an around-the-world race in 1968, their very different approaches, and the important role of maintenance in their voyages.

Every piece of equipment on board, and the structure of the boat itself, would be stressed for months on end. Since going ashore for repairs was forbidden, maintenance would have to be ceaseless and done at sea. Failure of a critical element at a critical time could mean death.

Cheri Lucas Rowlands

Cheri has been an editor at Longreads since 2014. She's currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area.