Joshua Slocum Circumnavigation
Captain Joshua Slocum was the first man to single handedly circumnavigate the world. He sailed around the world when he was at the ripe old age of fifty four. He wrote two books, The Voyage of the Liberdade and Sailing Alone Around the World, which is a practical and heart felt rendition of his circumnavigation - the blue water yachtsman's bible. He worked his way up from cabin boy to master in thirty years of sea-going work. He saw the last days of sailing ships and sailed on some of the tall ships plying their trade between Australia and China from LOndon and San Francisco.
He was given an old sloop called the Spray and he decided to rebuild it completely, restore it to her former glory and sail around the world. Slocum wanted to make a statement about the ascendency of old ships over the new noisy and smelly steam ships that were taking over commercial sailing. Slocum rebuilt the sloop from the keel up - it took him 13 months and cost $550. The Spray was thirty feet six inches long and fourteen feet two inches in the beam. She had a yawl-rigged mainsail, a jib and a flying jib. The aft sail could be hoisted on a removable jigger mast. She was reliable rather than fast, and was solid and easy to handle as opposed to graceful.
Joshua Slocum's Spray could sail eight or nine knots even with a straight up and down stern and bow. Her waterline length and overall length were virtually equal. Slocum spent more than a year trialling his yacht, refitting, and making more adjustments. On the seventh of May 1895 Slocum sailed out of Gloucester, Massachusetts towards Novia Scotia. On the second of July he sailed out into the Atlantic alone. Slocum sailed for Gibraltar and the Suez, but after being warned about Barbary pirates changed his plans and decided to do a westabout circumnavigation. He crossed back over the Atlantic and reached Brazil on the fifth October. In Pernambuco he stayed in a water front mansion, kept sailing south with plans to reach the Straits of Magellan in the middle of summer. At Montevideo he was greeted as a hero and arrived at Buenos Aires on the first of January 1896.
Joshua Slocum left Bueonos Aires on the 26th January and sailed into an ugly sea and a wild gale. Off Patagonia, mountains of water submerged the Spray, but after that he had a good run to Cape Virgins, sailing trouble free through the Magellan Straits. On the third of March he sailed past Cape PIlar, straight into a north west tempest. He was driven back towards Cape Horn and sheltered just inside the tip of Tierra del Fuego. Joshua Slocum sailed into the Cockburn Channel then into Cape Froward. He repaired the Spray and reached Port Angosto at the end of March. In April he made for Juan Fernandez, staying there for eight days with the locals. Slocus set a course for Samoa, steering by the sun and stars and harboured in Apia on the sixteenth July. He left Samoa on 20th August for Sydney, then Melbourne in Australia. He sailed around Tasmania, then sailed for Sydney again on 9th May 18987.
Slocum's course took him to Bowen, Cooktown, through the Torres strait to Thursday Island. He sailed across the Indian Ocean to the Cocos Keeling Islands, sailing 1200 miles in 8 days. In August and September he sailed to Rodriguez island, then Mauritius. On 17th November he reached Durban in south africa. On 26th March 1898 he sailed out of Cape Town on the last leg of his circumnavigation, sailing past St Helena, Grenada, Dominica, and on 27th June, 1898 Joshua Slocum sailed his sloop into Newport Harbour.
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