Circumnavigating is a dream that many boat owners harbor in their minds, but only a precious few actually make the journey—and even fewer do it alone. A handful have written about their passages, providing fodder for the high-seas visions in our heads. Here are a few of our favorites.
"Sailing Alone Around the World"
Born in Nova Scotia, Joshua Slocum had made dozens of open-sea voyages on trader and merchant ships before he built Spray, the gaff-rigged oyster sloop he’d sail around the world alone. He set out from Fairhaven, Massachusetts, on April 24, 1895, following a 46,000-mile westward route that landed him in Newport, Rhode Island, on June 27, 1898. Sailing Alone Around the World was first published in 1899 as a series of articles in The Century Magazine. The book has been widely available in print for over 100 years.
American sailor Robin Lee Graham was 16 years old when he set out in the 24-foot Lapworth sloop Dove to sail around the world. After a shakedown cruise from California, he left Hawaii on September 14, 1965. In April 1970, he returned to Long Beach, California, just short of a full circumnavigation, in the larger Allied Luders sloop Return of Dove. He battled storms, broken gear, a dismasting and depression, but he also met his future wife, Patti, in Fiji. National Geographic covered the journey, and Graham co-wrote Dove.
Tania Aebi set off on her circumnavigation in 1985 and returned to New York City in 1987 as the youngest person and first American woman to sail around the world alone. Her book, Maiden Voyage, tells the tale of her 27,000-mile journey aboard Varuna, the Taylor (Contessa) 26 sloop that her father bought her in lieu of a college education. She battled storms and survived a collision with a tanker. Her journey turned into a quest to find herself, rectify her strained relationship with her father and identify her dreams for life.
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"Life At Sea"
Known as JeffHK on YouTube, this professional seaman and avid videographer works on ships that cruise around the world. Through his videos, he dives into the bowels to offer a glimpse of a world that few of us ever get to experience. Whether he’s filming the details of four-story-high main engines, photographing a transit of the Suez Canal, or capturing what it feels like to battle heavy seas in the middle of the Atlantic, his channel has more than three years’ worth of rarely seen footage—with a bit of humor mixed in.