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Slocum, Joshua

Category: Explorer or adventurer

Joshua Slocum on his boat The Spray

Joshua Slocum (February 20, 1844 – on or shortly after 14 November 1909) was a Canadian-born American seaman and adventurer, a noted writer, and the first man to sail single-handedly around the world. In 1900 he told the story of this in Sailing Alone Around the World. He disappeared in November 1909 while aboard his boat, the Spray, originally sloop-rigged but re-rigged as a yawl; in the midst of his circumnavigation, while Slocum was traversing the Strait of Magellan.

His book is of particular interest because it contains a vivid account of his vision of a sailor-  a spirit entity - which helps him during his voyage in the Spray.  Slocum is not afraid to both admit the existence of the vision, nor is he afraid to explain its influence on him and its probable cause.

Quotes from Amazon:

After spending years commanding large merchant vessels, Capt Joshua Slocum completely rebuilds a 37 foot yacht and sets sail around the world in it. Slocum's grasp of the English language is exemplary as he describes his single-handed voyage around the world. The book is a fascinating insight into life 100 years ago when sailors were unable to use electronics for navigation, meteorology or helming and vessels had to sail around the Capes as the "shortcut canals" (Panama and Suez) had not yet been constructed”.

 I share other reviewers' enthusiasm for this book, but for me astonishment and admiration are the dominant emotions it evokes. At an age when most of us are ready to start taking it easy, and long before the days of modern aids to navigation and survival, Captain Slocum cobbles together his tiny boat and sets off around the world single-handed, braving wild seas and fending off wilder but barefoot natives with tin tacks scattered on the deck. Don't look for any modern angst or self-revelation as to why he decided to do it, or what drove him to persist when, for instance, it took him exhausting weeks of battling to get round the Horn. The whole saga is so quietly told that the man's huge competence, sagacity and sheer fortitude emerge only slowly. I'm no sailor, but this is one sailing book that I will always keep to hand for inspiration”.

References

Sailing Alone Around the World (Paperback)

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