, Gloucester, MA

The Perfect Storm: The Story of the Andrea Gail

June 3, 2008

Author Returns to Scene of Tragic Tale

GLOUCESTER, Mass. -- Some 400 people filed past the statue of the patron saint of fishermen on their way into the St. Peter's Club last night to hear the author of "The Perfect Storm" read from his nonfiction sea story.

The old mariner's hall seemed a fitting place for writer Sebastian Junger to explain how he came to pen his bestselling book about a Gloucester fishing crew lost at sea in an October 1991 gale.

People from hundreds of miles away heard Junger read some of the most compelling and emotional passages. Then they waited up to an hour to have their copies of the book signed.

And while waiting, some discussed their thoughts on the book that's been near the top of the New York Times bestseller list for six months, putting our small community in the national spotlight. That spotlight may get even brighter soon, since Warner Brothers has bought the rights to turn the tale into a movie.

"It's a great story," said Joyce Phinney, who grew up in East Gloucester. "I knew some of the Gloucester fishermen who died aboard the Andrea Gail," the swordfish boat that sank with all six hands lost during the killer storm that hit New England on Oct. 28, 1991.

"The book is realistic, full of local color. My brothers were swordfishermen and every time they go out to sea, you don't know if they're coming back," Phinney said.

The book derives its name from intense weather patterns that combined into what meteorologists described as a "perfect" storm that day. Winds howled past 90 mph and seas towered to 100 feet. The 70-foot swordfish longliner Andrea Gail was heading back toward Gloucester from Canada's Grand Banks when it ran into hurricane-force winds. It sank with little trace hundreds of miles offshore.

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The Perfect Storm: The Story of the Andrea Gail