The story of Joshua Slocum

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Slocum was a naturalized Yankee and proud of it! Says so in the first few pages of his wonderful book. A Canadian? Please!

-Adam
 
The second man to solo circumnavigate under sail was Harry Pidgeon. He built his boat on the beach in San Pedro, Ca. from scaled up plans from Rudder Magazine for the Sea Bird Yawl. Islander was 34 feet and gaff rigged. His book is not quite the read as Slocum's but still most interesting. "Around the World Single-Handed: The Cruise of the "Islander" His first voyage was 1921 to 1925. He did a second circumnavigation from 1932 to 1937. Islander was next to my dad's boat right after WWII, in San Pedro and Mr Pidgeon was gracious enough to invite a scrawny kid who had a lot of questions aboard Island many times. I still remember sitting in the cabin--and by modern standards that boat was very primitive--and asking questions. Mr. Pidgeon was also a professional photographer, so many times my questions were answered with photographs as well as the talks. He had no prior sailing experience; both the construction and his sailing/navigation knowledge was from books borrowed from the library.

He didn't marry until he was 72 years old. His third voyage, with his wife and a crew member aboard ended with the loss of Islander in the New Hebrides in 1948.

Another early sailor, John Caldwell, had his boat, Adios, next to my dad's boat a few years later. John wrote "Desperate Voyage" about his trip from Panama to Australia (the boat was lost at Fiji) right after WW II in a 20' cutter "Pagan" he bought. As Pidgeon, he had no sailing experience (but was a merchant seaman) and learned all from library books. He built a Tahiti Ketch in Australia. His wife sailed with him from Australia to San Pedro. They started on a circumnavigation, but stopped short at Palm Island in the Grenadines, which they developed into a successful resort.

Wonderful mentors for a young man! I spent a few days with John Caldwell in 1985 at Palm Island, stopping there on our way back from cruising Europe.
 
Nice contribution, thataway. Those are some cherished memories.
 
I enjoyed “Desperate Voyage” and would’ve enjoyed meeting and hearing Caldwell. A great fortune of experience for you, Thataway.
San Pedro and “Ports O’ Call” was a booming place 1960s
 
May I suggest-slightly more in keeping with us motorboaters, and perhaps of particular interest to the womenfolk aboard- THE CURVE OF TIME by M. Wylie Blanchett. Imagine: 1926 Pacific Northwest, a widow, five kids, and a 25 foot motorboat with no electronics (of course)....Great read.
 
Got to spend some time with Dodge Morgan (American Pride). He was the third person to non stop solo RTW. There’s a certain clarity of thought and purpose in such individuals that’s truly inspiring. Very self effacing so didn’t get the public play his accomplishment deserved in my view.
 
"Very self effacing so didn’t get the public play his accomplishment deserved in my view."

Not everyone wants to be in the spotlight.

Bernard Moitessier - Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Bernard_Moitessier

Bernard Moitessier (April 10, 1925 - June 16, 1994) was a French sailor, most notable for his participation in the 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, the first non-stop, single handed, round the world yacht race. With the fastest circumnavigation time towards the end of the race, Moitessier was the likely winner for the fastest voyage, but ..
 
Feel slocum is a hero. Jones just hubris. One a fantastically skilled sailor defeated by his romance for a time gone past. Dedicated to his family and his love of sail. The other a egocentric eccentric dilettante.
I sailed with Tristan on Outward Leg from Newport, RI to the Azores in 1984. Your description is fairly accurate but he did do some incredible voyages before losing his leg. Having to depend on crew because of that frustrated him immensely. He was a legend in his own mind (may he rest in peace). I was 27 and had read all of his books. He was a legend in my mind at that time. I signed on to learn about bluewater sailing. Despite his personality I did learn a lot. Including that your heros aren't always who you want them to be. About halfway across the Atlantic the other mate and I confronted him about his Capt. Blye behavior. He threatened to turn the boat around to Halifax and have us arrested for mutiny. We stayed at opposite ends of the boat for a day to cool off. After that we all got along great. He omitted that from the book "Outward Leg". In the end I felt sorry for him. He seemed very lonely.
 

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I don't know, as I get older I have less and less patience for irresponsibility or being a jerk for no good reason. I think that's why I like and admire Robin Knox Johnston so much but never had much patience for Moitessier who always seemed like a self-indulgent flake to me. Ditched two wives and a kid to go follow his bliss and be one with the universe, etc.
 
May I suggest-slightly more in keeping with us motorboaters, and perhaps of particular interest to the womenfolk aboard- THE CURVE OF TIME by M. Wylie Blanchett. Imagine: 1926 Pacific Northwest, a widow, five kids, and a 25 foot motorboat with no electronics (of course)....Great read.

Seconded.

Another good read for those interested in the Broughtons is Totem Poles and Tea. A young woman gets her first job as a school marm in Mamaliliculla, then an active First Nation site in the 1930's. An amazing place to go ashore when you know the history. Some buildings still exist.

A one room school.
 

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Slocum's self-reported adventures are great fodder for debate in the sailing forums. In my opinion, there may have been some serious embellishment in his stories. The Spray was a wreck of a boat, refitted under negligible budget. And even in it's prime, it certainly wasn't a terribly capable sailboat. Just ask the people who have built Spray replicas, only to discover that their boat is a "4 knot **** box". Yet, according to Slocum's chronicles, he sailed consistently at 8+ knots, even with the boat loaded to the hilt with tallow or other trade goods. It was so well balanced he could lash the tiller and she'd sail straight and true for 1000 miles. Etc etc. etc.

But ... he did circumnavigate solo at a time when much was uncharted, he was able to navigate using the moon and a clock with no minute hand, and he was a very entertaining writer!
 
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Here's a link to a story about "The Man of Iron", Howard Blackburn:

https://www.americanheritage.com/terrible-odyssey-howard-blackburn

Its a fairly long read. If you google his name you can find some breifer summaries. The highlights are he was a dory fisherman on the Grand Banks who got seperated from the mother ship and rowed 60 miles to Newfoundland. He then later became the second person to solo across the Atlantic ( the first to do it with no fingers!). His boat is on display at the Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester, MA if you are ever in that area.
 
"and he was a very entertaining writer!"


Much of his tour was paid for be his speaking , the book came after.
 
Possibly the last photo of Spray.
IMG_0110.jpeg
 
What's the provenance of that photograph, Parks? Meaning, whose collection is it owned by, and where could someone find it online? Also wondering if you know where that boat yard would have been. I didn't come up with anything in a Google search.
I don’t know the provenance of the photo. There are several collections of historic Miami photos. I copied it from a post on Facebook. I believe the boat yard was on the Miami River but can’t prove it. I looked up Miami Boat Works in the Florida Corporation Records. Looks like it went out of business in 1936.
 
I think I've read most of the suggestions here, but added a couple to my Amazon cart.

These adventure stories at sea always interest me more than any other type of book. A couple more that I really enjoyed were the classic Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana and two by Dana Lamb, Enchanted Vagabonds

And Quest for the Lost City.

After reading these I subsequently found there was a lot of "artistic license" applied, but they are still fun to read and especially interesting if you do any cruising in Baha.
 
I think Two Years Before the Mast is pretty factual, and has interesting descriptions of early California.
 
I have always kept a box of thumbtacks in the nav station in his memory.
What to do when the local thieves wear sneakers??

As an ode to the good ole days, I always carry a tin of paraffin and collect whale ambergris to trade with the locals.
 
I think Two Years Before the Mast is pretty factual, and has interesting descriptions of early California.
Sorry, I should have been more clear in
my post, I meant the two books by Dana Lamb.
 
Also carry a sexton and have the tables on my computer. Totally a romantic undertaking. Do shoot on occasion from boredom but it’s kicks and giggles. Lighten up. Wife carves and I’ve been know to do rope work.
 
Also carry a sexton and have the tables on my computer. Totally a romantic undertaking. Do shoot on occasion from boredom but it’s kicks and giggles. Lighten up. Wife carves and I’ve been know to do rope work.
I would be one of those that would get a sextant and teach myself to use it just "because". I also have a sailor's love of knots and lines.

Silly I know but ...
 
I have read about Joshua Slocum and Tristan Jones plus other.
Not to debate anyone including Hippo (who Triastan must owe money or something to)
I think they are kinda 2 sides to the same coin, the coin being the sea. Like the line from one of Jimmy Buffets song - you can learn a little from both.
I had to google some of those words in Hippo's comment
Agree....

Some people seem to have bucket lists and well planned out dreams.....other just live their life and are respected for their path of life.

The tough ones are the true adrenaline junkies...sometimes can't tell why they do what they do. :oops:
 
We past by the field in fairhaven where slocum found his boat not infrequently. Have frequently anchored in Padanaram where he kept it. Worth reading both his books. When the age of sail closed and he had no way to support his family off he went RTW. He refused to captain a steam vessel. He subsided on his book sales afterwards but mostly on his lecture tours. Nevertheless he and his family lived in great hardship. Some say his death was a suicide much like suicide by cop. He was a the consummate sailor but lost at sea in circumstances he would have been expected to survive. A truly tragic story. I have always kept a box of thumbtacks in the nav station in his memory.


Spray may have been in Gloucester and he borne in NS but he considered himself a resident of the South Coast of Massachusetts from what I understand.
I did not know about his stuff obviously that was not covered in the book .thanks that was interesting
 
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