Sailing Alone Around the World, with eBookby Joshua Slocum, Alan Sklar
Joshua Slocum is believed to be the first man to sail single-handedly around the world. After a distinguished nautical career, during which he worked his way up from cabin boy to captain, Slocum wrecked his ship off the coast of Brazil. Turning this catastrophe to his advantage, he built a sailing canoe from the wreckage and sailed back to New York. Moreover, he
Joshua Slocum is believed to be the first man to sail single-handedly around the world. After a distinguished nautical career, during which he worked his way up from cabin boy to captain, Slocum wrecked his ship off the coast of Brazil. Turning this catastrophe to his advantage, he built a sailing canoe from the wreckage and sailed back to New York. Moreover, he wrote Voyage of the Liberdade, a chronicle of his trip, and earned some literary success. This spurred him to attempt his perilous voyage. Having lost his fortune in the shipwreck, Slocum began his voyage on a shoestring. He was given the Spray, a century-old oysterboat in need of repairs. Two years and $500 later, he had rebuilt the wreck into an oceangoing wonder. On his 40,000-mile, three-year voyage, Slocum visited six of the seven continents, where he met cannibals, presidents, outlaws, and ambassadors. Amazingly, throughout his travels he lived off the land, fishing, trading, and giving lectures to keep his pantry full. He also met some remarkable people, including Mrs. Robert Louis Stevenson and Paul Kruger, who, believing the world was flat, warned Slocum not to fall off! This adventure will captivate sailors and landlubbers alike.
"A classic book. . . . Slocum's writing is as elegant as his thirty-seven-foot sloop, Spray, whose crossing of the Atlantic he describes vividly."— The New Yorker
Read an Excerpt
Joshua Slocum, one of the most famous of American sea captains, really was the first to single-handedly circumnavigate the world. The epitome of Yankee independence, he had risen from a seaman to the captain of his own ship. Marooned in Brazil, he built a "canoe" in which he returned to America (see The Voyage of the Liberdade). At loose ends at fifty-one, he was offered an old oyster boat which he rebuilt into the 37' Spray and in 1895 he took off from Boston for the Straits of Gibraltar.
He is a captivating writer as well; observant, humorous, and evocative:
"For, one day, well off the Patagonian coast, while the sloop was reaching under short sail, a tremendous wave, the culmination, it seemed, of many waves, rolled down upon her in a storm, roaring as it came. I had only a moment to get all sail down and myself up on the peak halliards, out of danger, when I saw the mighty crest towering masthead-high above me. The mountain of water submerged my vessel. She shook in every timber and reeled under the weight of the sea, but rose quickly out of it, and rode grandly over the rollers that followed. It may have been a minute that from my hold in the rigging I could see no part of the Spray's hull. Perhaps it was even less time than that, but it seemed a long while, for under great excitement one lives fast, and in a few seconds one may think a great deal of one's past life."
He met determined pirates in Tierra del Fuego:
"I was not for letting on that I was alone, and so I stepped into the cabin, and, passing through the hold, came out at the fore-scuttle, changing my clothes as I went along. That made two men. Then the piece of bowsprit which I had sawed off at Buenos Aires, and which I had still on board, I arranged forward on the lookout, dressed as a seaman, attaching a line by which I could pull it into motion. That made three of us..."
In Africa he met the explorer Henry Stanley:
"Mr. Stanley was a nautical man once himself, - on the Nyanza, I think, - and of course my desire was to appear in the best light before a man of his experience. He looked me over carefully, and said,
'What an example of patience!'
'Patience is all that is required,' I ventured to reply.
He then asked if my vessel had water-tight compartments. I explained that she was all water-tight and all compartment.
'What if she should strike a rock?' he asked.
'Compartments would not save her if she should hit the rocks lying along her course,' said I; adding, 'she must be kept away from the rocks.'
After a considerable pause Mr. Stanley asked, 'What if a swordfish should pierce her hull with its sword?'
Of course I had thought of that as one of the dangers of the sea, and also of the chance of being struck by lightning. In the case of the swordfish, I ventured to say that 'the first thing would be to secure the sword.'
So this is where Jack London got the idea for watertight compartments! (see Cruise of the Snark, available from The Narrative Press) Discover for yourself why everyone reads this book (called a sailor's Walden) - even if you're not planning a solo sailing trip. And take it with you if you are!
Meet the Author
Alan Sklar is the winner of several AudioFile Earphones Awards and a multiple finalist for the APA's prestigious Audie Award. Named a Best Voice of 2009 by AudioFile magazine, his work has twice earned him a Booklist Editors' Choice Award, a Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award, and Audiobook of the Year by ForeWord magazine.
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