deutsche Sprache

BETTY smacks cruising the Estuary janholthusen



cruising sailors

  Captain Joshua Slocum

Who are the pioneers of cruising? Who are the men and women, who leave their ordinary lives in order to sail in their little boats for an uncertain length of time to far away places? What motivates them to burn all bridges behind them; to leave good jobs, middles-class lives and sometimes their families behind, just to go sailing into the sunset? To answer these questions it is helpful to take a closer look at the aims and motives of the many different types of cruising sailors. In order to to so one can loosely arrange them into four separate groups:

Joshua Slocum 1844-1909

the Gentleman Cruiser exchanges his safe house against the relative insecurity of the sea for a few weeks or months only, in order to explore closer surroundings or more distant places by boat. He is the pioneer and forerunner of today's pleasure boat owner, with a significant difference, in that we know his name even today, because he writes about his journeys, often illustrating books with his own drawings or photographs, and by doing so inspires countless others to follow in his wake.

the Adventurer will sell his belongings and equip his boat in order to leave everything behind and go on an extended cruise to foreign parts for an indefinite length of time. This is the ultimate cruise, which seeks personal freedom at the top of the scale. Often the true "salty dog" is a single-hander and employs many different ways to earn a living during extended stays. For many this will be the start to their first circumnavigation, with many more to follow.

the Ocean Racer is driven by the urge to be faster than previous conquerors of that price. He shares the same crammed quarters, battles the same forces of the seas, endures the same hardships as his fellow cruisers. Because of the combative undertaking he is closest to something like a sportsman. Here, early in the sports a system of sponsorship developed.

the Maverick Sailor leads a style of life on the water that combines work with pleasure. He or she provides for funds for their travel by working in or around boating. He can be a boat builder, she a travel journalist. One has a book contract, the other is employed by an agency. Today most extended cruises by couples are lived in this style. They simply sail through life, while caring for their boat, their relationships and their work.

> top

Gentleman Cruiser

cruising years



R.T. McMullen


in the English Channel, Irish Sea, Scotland



‘Mr. McMullen was unlike any other yachtsman we ever met: we have known men just as fond of the sea as he was, but never anyone who regarded it with such reverential interest. Yachting and yacht racing in the ordinary sense of the terms had no charms for him.’ Always it was his character that impressed people more than any details of his personal history. Like most men who are supremely good at any one thing, McMullen held decided opinions on a number of subjects. For him to hold an opinion strongly was to express it. It by no means diminishes the interest of Down Channel to spend some time in the British Museum going through the various books that are there catalogued under its author’s name. There is the original Down Channel of 1869; ‘Orion’: How I came to Sail Alone in a 19-ton yacht (1878); An Experimental Cruise Single-handed in the ‘Procyon’ (1880). In these works he speaks with the same independence and force.' The Field
R.T. McMullen 1830 - 1891

E.E. Middleton


round the British Isles, Crimean Canal


To reduce a long and fascinating story to its barest essentials: Starting from Ramsgate Harbour on Friday, June 18th, 1869, "sailing alone in a boat for the first time in life," Middleton circumnavigated England. He was the first to do so single-handed. On September 24th, he landed his 21-foot Kate - Middleton had named the little yacht after his sister - at Victoria Dock, confident that his place in history was now secure. But although Middleton sailed across the Irish Sea and "coasted" up Ireland from Courtown to Donaghadee before sailing back across to Britain, he did not venture around Scotland, choosing instead to cross from west to east by way of what is now the Forth & Clyde Canal. He had no engine, and since he preferred to sleep and eat on land, he was constantly exposed to the dangers of inshore waters. Moreover, in order to make the best use of the tides he forced himself to astonishing feats of rowing. His detailed and idiosyncratic account of one of the best cruises ever undertaken single-handed brings to life the conditions of small-boat sailing more than a hundred years ago.

Charles E. Robinson


across to Belgium, Netherlands, River Elbe


The cruising of the European rivers and canals was a very popular destination and pastime at the turn of the century and here Robinson joins other luminaries in the adventure. Widgeon, was a ten-ton (Thames Measurement) yawl, 34 feet overall with about a 9 foot beam with 4' 8" headroom. Not very large for those days. After a comfortable crossing of the Channel, Robinson and his companions arrive in Ostend and commence their explorations of Belgium and then progress to Germany and Holland, finally returning to England. Even in 1874, Robinsons comments about some of the coastal tourist towns of Holland are enlightening.

E.F. Knight


Netherlands, Germany, Denmark


E.F. Knight, an English barrister and author of the "Cruise of the Falcon," tells how he bought a lifeboat condemned by the Peninsular and Oriental Company. She was thirty feet long with a beam of eight feet, very strong, being built of double skins of teak, and, like all the lifeboats used by that company, an excellent sea boat. This craft he timbered and decked, rigged her as a ketch, and crossed the North Sea in her, going as far as Copenhagen and back, and encountering plenty of bad weather during the adventurous voyage. Mr. Knight is a believer in the pointed or lifeboat stern for a small vessel. He was caught in a northwest gale, in the Gulf of Heligoland, in the above-mentioned craft, and had to sail sixty miles before a high and dangerous sea.

Frank Cowper


English Channel, Thames Estuary, Irish Sea

Lady Harvey

'From his earliest days Mr. Cowper took cruising to heart and probably did more to popularize this particular way of life than any man of his day. It is not generally acknowledged how much Mr. Cowper's single-handed exploits, in the days when anyone who "went yachting" without a crew was regarded as insane, influenced the public into realizing that sailing in a small yacht can be enviable sport and its followers not entirely mad. His famous "Sailing Tours" are well known and probably these and his other books originally introduced hundreds of keen yachtsmen to their sport. His knowledge of boats resulted in his designing and building the Undine II in 1897 and, although most of his writings concerned his ventures in the Lady Harvey, the Undine was his favorite boat. His one great desire was to build another single-hander and to sail away in her and never to be heard of again alive - even as his predecessor, McMullen, passed away down Channel.' The Yachting Monthly

Henry Montagu Doughty


Norfolk Broads, to the Netherlands, Mecklenburg and Bohemia


Henry Montagu Doughty on Gipsy

"Our Wherry in Wendish Lands - From Friesland through the Mecklenburg Lakes to Bohemia" was published in London in 1891. The author was H.M.Doughty and he had written several other accounts of journeys in his Norfolk wherry 'Gipsy'. The wherry was 53 feet long and 13½ feet wide with a mast that could be lowered to pass under bridges. It had one sail, a large gaff and no boom. The deck house contained a kitchen and men's cabin at one end and two main cabins, a saloon and a ladies' cabin at the other end, with a bath in each companion way and plenty of storage space. And the other splendid feature of the book is the collection of delightful pen illustrations by two of his daughters who accompanied him. The others on board were the butler, who also cooked, a Suffolk fisherman and a Friesian sailor. They began their journey on 18th August 1888 from Yarmouth and voyaged more than 1600 miles through Holland and Germany before returning to the port of Hamburg in October of 1890.
Henry Montagu Doughty on his Norfolk wherry Gipsy

H.Lewis Jones, MA


Thames Estuary


One of the many delights of cruising in small yachts is the marvelously descriptive literature from the pens of the pioneers. Henry Lewis Jones was one who wrote of the Thames Estuary and east coast rivers when solitude in these river anchorages was the order of the day. Jones was a well known London surgeon. He cruised with medical colleagues in the 4-ton yawl 'Teal'. In 'The First of the Tide' Maurice Griffiths says how the foreshore at Leigh-on-Sea always reminded him of a book he found in a library when he first started sailing. "It was a modest volume of short cruises in these waters in a little 4-ton cutter with the title "Swin, Swale and Swatchway", published about 1894, but I cannot recall the author’s name nor have I seen another copy." In fact the author was Henry Lewis Jones and the book was published in 1892. Self evidently "Swin, Swale and Swatchway" was influential and a link in the evolution of shoal water sailing literature. Being pioneering stuff, the book contains a good deal of pilotage information, but of course in the late nineteenth century yachtsman’s sailing directions were far fewer in number and Admiralty pilots were not much concerned with shoal waters. Jones also considered the kind of boat best suited for cruising at the mouth of the Thames and the advantages of three-foot draught. Continuing on design, Jones wrote "One must have shelter and live with some approach to comfort while away on a cruise, therefore cabin room and good sleeping accommodation, dry and warm, are essential".
> top

Claude Worth


the East Coast and down the English Channel

Tern IV

Claude Worth

Claude Worth was an eye doctor (always he had to leave his boats in strange places to rush back to London) who was one of the great pioneers of Ophthalmology, specializing in squints in children and restoring the eyesight of premature babies. He wrote as widely on his work as on his pastime cruising, and he is still recognized and remembered through The Claude Worth medical awards. Mr. Worth's first boat in 1885 was a 22ft clinker-built ship's boat, bought for 30 shillings (£1.50), which he converted into a handy little yacht and named 'Ianthe'. Claude Worth's home port was Kings Lynn and from there he cruised to Lowestoft, Brightlingsea, Burnham on Crouch, eventually getting as far as Devon and Cornwall. His boat 'Tern II' was made famous in his seminal book, "Yacht Cruising", a book heavily credited with advancing the sport/pastime of cruising in a yacht.

Erskine Childers


The English Channel, the Estuary, the Irish Sea


Molly and Erskine Childers on Asgard

Robert Erskine Childers was born in London in 1870. He grew up in County Wicklow and was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. He was a Clerk in the House of Commons before becoming a British Army Officer. In 1903 he published "The Riddle of the Sands", probably the best cruising novel ever. Childers became increasingly interested in Irish politics and in 1914 he smuggled guns for the Irish Volunteers from Germany to Howth, Dublin in his yacht, The Asgard. At the outbreak of the First World War Childers joined the British Navy as an Intelligence Officer. After World War I Childers resumed his republican activities and in 1919 he was made Director of Publicity for the First Dáil. In 1922 Childers was arrested for having a pistol, was court-martialed and executed by an IRA firing squad on November 24th, 1922.

Molly and Erskine Childers on Asgard

H.Alker Tripp


Thames Estuary, Suffolk, English Channel

H.Alker Tripp ("Leigh Hoe") was an Assistant Commissioner with Scotland Yard and was also an enthusiastic yachtsman, both cruising and racing. He had a large number of articles published in the yachting press in both Britain and the United States, and also wrote four books on the subject: "Shoalwater and Fairway" (1924) the story of just the type of craft owned by hundreds of London Men who do their weekend sailing in the sea-approaches of Essex and Kent and each chapter records some casual expedition of a seven-ton yacht; "Suffolk Sea Borders" (1926); "Solent and the Southern Waters" (1928), about a 12 ton barge yacht from Maldon exploring slowly & carefully all the South Coast Havens; a casual exploration of the seaways of the Isle of Wight and of the creeks and inlets from Chichester to Poole, and "Under the Cabin Lamp" (1950).

Michael Frost


Thames Estuary, Mersea Grounds


Michael Frost on his Boadicea
Disguised behind a quite delightful account of an oyster smack on the East Coast in "Half a Gale", lies one of the most interesting series of hypotheses about wind, sea, tide and shipwrecks ever to appear in print. Michael Frost, a dentist by profession and sailor by instinct and profession has produced a thoroughly enjoyable amalgam of theory and practice, probing, intellectually demanding, yet evocative of an era when fishermen trawled under sail alone. Here with the Mersea oyster grounds as backdrop, a purist still sails and works his more than 200 year old and rebuilt thoroughbred 30 ft, 10 ton bawley Boadicea CK213 to her and his limits.

James Lawrence


Thames Estuary, the Netherlands




Thames Estuary, South Coast, Belgium

Shoal Waters

A.C. Stock

High adventure on a small budget - this is Charles Stock's philosophy as he cruises his midget 16 foot gaff-rigged sailing cruiser 'Shoal Waters' on the Thames Estuary, having logged 68,000 miles since 1963. No engine, no electronics. The art of pottering taken to its zenith, and happiness achieved with great simplicity. There's a lesson here for all of us who hanker after the South Seas! Now aged 80, Stock continues a singularly English tradition of economical adventure in small sailing boats encouraged by the popular pre-World War II writings – and coastal passages.

Jon Wainwright


Liverpool to East Coast, to Holland frequently


Jon Wainwright
Jon Wainwright's love of the sea, and in particular for his nobby 'Deva', shines through cruising, racing and fishing in a traditional wooden boat over 38 years. His experience in organizing the best rig for the conditions is matched by his understanding of boat construction and the changes he implemented on 'Deva'. "Only So Many Tides", his colorful book is a detailed account of a lifetime adventure between man and boat with many trials and tribulations for both, capturing some of the best elements of traditional sail. The story moves through a backcloth of change from the area of Liverpool Docks to Felixstowe and the forging of strong links with Holland in joint classic boat events.
> top


cruising years

cruising direction


Joshua Slocum


single-handed circumnavigation westward


Joshua Slocum 1903

The first person to sail solo around the world was Joshua Slocum. Born in Nova Scotia, with family roots in New England, Captain Slocum began his career as ship's cook, then became master and eventually captain on American merchant ships. On April 24, 1895, at the age of 51, he departed Boston in his tiny sloop 'Spray' - which was built by himself on a shoestring budget - and sailed around the world single-handed, a passage of 46,000 miles, returning to Newport, Rhode Island on June 27, 1898. This historic achievement made him the patron saint of small-boat voyagers, navigators and adventurers all over the world. His book, "Sailing Alone Around the World", became an instant best seller. It has been translated into many languages, and is still in print today. His vessel 'Spray', which he rebuilt himself from a derelict hull, has been copied by hundreds of boat builders world-wide. In the fall of 1909, Captain Slocum left on a voyage to South America and was never heard from again.

John Claus Voss Norman K.Luxton


westward from Victoria, B.C. to Margate, England


Norman K. Luxton
On May 27, 1901, Captain John C. Voss, accompanied by journalist Norman Luxton, left Oak Bay, Victoria in 'Tilikum', a thirty-eight-foot by five-foot dugout canoe purchased on Vancouver Island from Nootka Indians. Voss was a professional sailor who, like Joshua Slocum, had been idled in the twilight of commercial sail. Luxton, a nautical innocent, was along to record the voyage for posterity. Drawing a mere 24 inches fully loaded, and outfitted by Voss with a deck, a small keel, three stubby masts, a cockpit for the helmsman, and a tiny cabin, the 'Tilikum' was without doubt the oddest (and hence, the most newsworthy) craft ever to attempt a deep-sea voyage.
Captain John Claus Voss
Three years and several months later, on September 2, 1904, 'Tilikum' arrived in Margate, England after a voyage of 40,000 miles - a journey fraught with perilous and exotic adventures on both land and sea. Luxton abandoned the voyage in the South Seas, and his replacement was lost overboard in a storm. Voss carried on, and in 1912 - 13, while in Japan, he wrote "The Venturesome Voyages of Captain Voss", the book that established him alongside Slocum as one of the greatest small-boat navigators of all time. The vessel was exhibited at Earls Court, London in 1905 after which it was sold and passed through a number of hands and was discovered in 1929 lying derelict.

George Muhlhauser


circumnavigation westward


On 6 September 1920 the George Muhlhauser left Plymouth to circumnavigate the globe in his 62 foot yacht 'Amaryllis', skippering an inexperienced and ever changing crew over 30,000 miles and two years and 10 months later he reached Dartmouth.

Harry Pidgeon


single-handed circumnavigation westward/Panama


Harry Pidgeon
Harry Pidgeon was born on a farm in Iowa. He led a very adventuresome youth. At the age of 18 he went to Alaska where he engaged in a rafting expedition down the Yukon. Later, he spent time sailing on his own boat among the islands of southeastern Alaska. Then he built 'Islander', his 34' yawl designed by Thomas Flemming Day in just 18 months at a cost of $1000. With her Pidgeon commenced his first circumnavigation from Los Angeles on November 18, 1921. He arrived back in Los Angeles on October 31, 1925, becoming second only to Joshua Slocum in making a solo-circumnavigation. Much of the appeal of Pidgeons book "Around the World Single-Handed, The Cruise of the Islander" on his first circumnavigation comes from the fact that he truly enjoyed his voyage. He was not a loner driven to sea to escape society. He did not make his voyage as a stunt. He never describes his voyage as an ordeal to be endured. During 1932-1937, Harry Pidgeon made a second solo-circumnavigation.

Conor O'Brien


eastward circumnavigation around Cape Horn


Conor O'Brien
Conor O'Brien (1880-1952) was an intellectual, Irish aristocrat, republican, nationalist, pioneer in modern maritime theory, owner and captain of one of the first boats to sail under the tri-colour of the Irish free state. He was the first sailor who really conquered the great Cape Horn and rounded it with three friends on board the 42 footer "Saoirse", during the circumnavigation between 1923 and 1925 becoming the first cap hornier in the history of sailing. It was the first boat flying the Irish tri-colour to enter many of the worlds ports and harbours. He was a ship builder/designer (notable boats include the Saoirse and, gun runner for the IRA during the war of independence in Ireland, captain of a ship sailing in the merchant navy during WWII.


> top

Alain Gerbault


single-handed Atlantic & Pacific Ocean, South Seas


Alain Gerbault on Firecrest
Alain Gerbault, the French yachtsman, linguist and lawn-tennis player, sailed quietly from Cannes on what was to be a six-year cruise. His narrow English cutter 'Firecrest', designed by the famous Dixon Kemp, was built by P. T. Harris at Rowhedge, Essex, in 1892. She was 39 feet overall, 31 feet 6 inches on the waterline, with a beam of 8 feet 6 inches, displaced 12 tons and had no engine. After he had sailed round the world in 'Firecrest', had been gone for five years and sailed almost 40,000 miles, he commented: "As the end of my voyage drew nearer a great sadness took possession of me; the cruise was soon to end, and with it the happiest period of my life. . . ." Later Gerbault, had a new yacht built for him and sailed single-handed back to the Pacific. There he took up his abode among the Polynesians. In two of his books, "The Flight of the Firecrest" and "In Quest of the Sun", Gerbault tells the story of his world voyage and reveals part of his character. His attitude towards life was the opposite of that expected of the conventional Frenchman, as Gerbault states his decision to avoid cities and to lead the plain life of the sailor and bathe body and mind in sunshine.

Edward Miles


circumnavigation east-ward

Sturdy II

The first recorded yacht circumnavigation east-about was by the American solo navigator, Edward Miles, who left New York on August 29, 1928 in the little schooner 'Sturdy', which he had built himself. It took forty-nine days to reach Gibraltar, after which he sailed through the Med. At Alexandria he laid up 'Sturdy' and returned to the United States. Months later, he returned to Egypt and started through the canal. During the passage, in the blistering heat spilled gasoline was ignited. The 'Sturdy' burned to the water's edge and Miles lost everything. Immediately he began work on 'Sturdy II', somewhat larger than her predecessor, being 36 feet overall with a beam of 10 feet 10 inches and a draft of just under 5 feet. He shipped Sturdy II to Egypt on a steamer and launched her in September, 1930.
Passing through the canal again, he took a month to sail through the Red Sea for Hawaii, which he reached after fifty days. From Honolulu, he made the Pacific crossing in only eighteen days somewhat of a record arriving September 30. Coasting downhill past Mexico and Central America, he went through the Panama Canal, and then on up to New York. The elapsed time was just under four years, but about two years of this was spent rebuilding his dream ship.

William A.Robinson




William A.Robinson on Svaap
William A. Robinson, the son of a midwestern newspaper publisher, was an avid sailor and adventurer. Between 1928 and 1931, he circumnavigated in the 32-foot ketch, 'Svaap', recounting the cruise in "Ten Thousand Leagues Over the Sea" (The British edition was titled "Deep water and Shoal".), paying his way by selling articles on his travels to magazines and newspapers back in the states. Following a hero's homecoming in New York City in November of 1931 after more than three years at sea, he met Florence Crane. Two years later, they were married in Chicago. Florence shocked the high society crowd in the windy city when she climbed aboard the 'Svaap' for a honeymoon trip to the Galapagos Islands. The trip was a disaster. Flash floods caused them to shipwreck in the Panamanian jungle and when they finally reached the chain of islands, Robinson’s appendix burst.

Fred Rebell


single-handed from Australia to California


Fred Rebell
Fred Rebell (1886-1968) fled his homeland Latvia in 1907, traveled to Germany and stowed away on a ship bound for Sydney. In Australia, Rebell became a farmer. In 1931, Rebell decided to emigrate to the United States by single-handedly sailing the Pacific Ocean on a boat christened the 'Elaine'. He arrived in California in January 1933, and Rebell is credited with the first recorded west-east, lone crossing of the Pacific, using a homemade sextant. U.S. officials refused to allow Rebell to stay in the country and in 1935 he was deported to Latvia. He lived with his parents in Piltene, on Latvia’s Baltic Sea coast, and completed a book about his exploits "Escape to the Sea", first published in 1939 in London. In 1937, he decided to return to Australia, which he finally reached aboard a ship in 1939. Rebell became a naturalized citizen in 1955 and died in 1968 in Sydney.

Warwick M.Tompkins


Hamburg to California round the Cap Horn

Wander Bird

Captain Warwick M.Tompkins, arguably one of the greatest seamen of all time, had sailed the 'Wander Bird', a reconditioned eighty-five-foot engineless schooner from the River Elbe, over 80,000 miles before he attempted the journey, which began at Tangier and ended at San Francisco. This epic voyage, when he and his family sailed around Cape Hoorn in 28 days, became the basis for his book "Fifty South to Fifty South; The Story of a Voyage West Around Cape Horn in the Schooner Wander Bird". The pattern of Cape Horn voyages is familiar to most vicarious adventurers of the sea, but this is a first hand modern adventure yarn of slashing gales and grim battles to inch a small boat around the hell of the world, and all for fun, for the joy of matching wits with the elements and to satisfy his own craving for the romance of the past.

Louis Bernicot


westward single-handed circumnavigation


Louis Bernicot on his Anahita
From 1936 to 1938 the Frenchman Louis Bernicot sailed around the world alone in his yacht 'Anahita'. As his idol Joshua Slocum 40 years earlier, he went from East to West, through the Magellan Strait, the South Pacific and around the Cape of Good Hope. Born in 1883 on the north coast of Brittany, he served three years in the French Navy. Then, after an obligatory nine month service aboard a four-masted barque he obtained Junior Officer’s certificate. Two years later, in 1908, he achieved the rank of Captain, worked for some time on shore in Paris and was eventually sent to the U.S.A. as the company’s Southern Representative. At the age of fifty-one he retired and soon made his decision to sail round the world. He did not achieved great recognition as the Old Sailing Masters did for their fast sailing passages, but his remarkable fast solo circumnavigation was fastest than any one of his predecessors. He closed his solo sailing circumnavigation loop north of equator in less then 12 months of sailing time, something that took a few decades to overdo. Fourteen years after his circumnavigation in 1952, on his way to Casablanca and still sailing his 'Anahita', a wire shroud broke during bad weather and struck his head, causing severe injury. After reaching harbor, a tumor developed forcing his return to his native France, where six weeks later he died.

Vito Dumas


single-handed eastward circumnavigation

Legh II

Vito Dumas
Vito Dumas, an artist, athlete, adventurer and a sailor was born in Argentina at the turn of the century. In 1923 he swam across the Platte Estuary from Colonia, Uruguay to the Argentine coast in 25 hours. Dumas worked in the cattle business, but was a member of a sailing club, where he learned sailing.From June 1942 to July 1943 Dumas sailed alone in his 32 foot boat 'Legh II' around the world in 1 year and 6 days. 'Legh II' was a double-ended wooden ketch designed by Manuel Campos on lines modified from a Colin Archer type and built in Buenos Aires in 1934. His route was bound eastward from Buenos Aires via Cape Town to New Zealand, then across the Pacific Ocean to Chile. Dumas took honors for rounding Cape Horn as the very first 'yacht man' and safely made it back to Argentina.
During his circumnavigation he had to fight several leakages and an infection in his arm, which temporarily caused very high fever. In the 'Roaring Forties' his boat was rolling in waves up to 50 feet high, and he had several 'near collisions' with passing whales. Off Cape Horn a high sea threw Dumas off his feet and broke his nose. Back home he was welcomed as hero and received awards by the dozens.

Jean Gau


single-handed circumnavigation


Jean Gau
Frenchman, painter, dishwasher, but mainly sailor, Jean Gau left New York in 1947 aboard the 30-foot Tahiti ketch, 'Atom'. To "Challenge a Distant Sea" is the story of Gau's life as a cruiser, including 11 Atlantic crossings and two circumnavigations.

Al Peterson


single-handed circumnavigation


Al Peterson won the Cruising Club of America's Blue Water Medal in 1952 with a single-handed circumnavigation aboard the 33-foot cutter, 'Stornoway'. After their marriage, AI and his wife Marjorie cruised in 'Stornoway' for more than 20 years. Marjorie tells their story in "Stornoway East and West".

Marcel Bardiaux


single-handed circumnavigation

Le Quatre Vents

Louis & Annie van de Wiele




Annie van de Wiele
Louis van de Wiele was an assistant professor at the University of Gent when he met Annie, who was a student. Later he joined the Resistance and went underground. In 1946 he and Annie set about designing, building and outfitting their dream ship 'Omoo'. She was 46 feet overall, 12 feet 4 inches of beam, drawing 6 feet 4 inches, and displacing 18 tons. With Fred, a family friend, Annie and Louis departed Ostendon August 5, 1949, sailed to Dunkirk, then over to the Mediterranean, and re-outfitting at Nice for a round-the-world voyage. They departed on July 7, 1951. The first passage was Nice to Gibraltar, thence to Alicante With stops at Port Louis, and a long stay in Durban and Cape Town, the Omoo sailed on to St. Helena, Ascension, then uphill to the Azores, on to England, then on to Zeebrugge, arriving on August 2, 1953.
> top

Miles & Beryl Smeeton



Tzu Hang

James Wharram


England to Trinidad


James Wharram with Jutta and Ruth in Falmouth
James Wharram is a pioneer of multi hull design, building and sailing. He advocates the virtues of getting back to fundamentals of boat design, and in doing this he draws on the millennia of expertise developed by traditional Polynesian builders that is expressed in their craft. He built his first catamaran, the 23 ft 6 in TANGAROA, in 1954 and sailed it in a classic voyage to the West Indies with Jutta Shultze-Rohnhof and Ruth Merseburger as crew. James Wharram made a great contribution to the acceptance of multi hulls as viable sea-going craft, though few other designers have followed his style. Nevertheless he has a huge following, and the success of his designs is unprecedented in the multi hull world, having sold 8000 sets of plans in 40 years of commercial operation.

Wilfried Erdmann


single-handed circumnavigation


Wilfried Erdmann
The first German single hand circumnavigator was Wilfried Erdmann with his 'Kathena'. Erdmann again was the first German to circumnavigate the world eastward alone nonstop (1984/85). In 2000 he started again, aged 61, on a single hand nonstop westward bound voyage against the main wind and stream directions. Among many excellent German sailors Erdmann is probably the greatest.
Leonid Teliga 1966-1969

single-handed circumnavigation


Leonid Teliga
While growing up in Poland Russian Leonid Teliga read all the books about Slocum and Gerbault. His dream, to be like his heroes and to circumnavigate the world on his own, became true from 1966 to 1969. Teliga's wooden boat 'Opty', an abbreviation for 'optimism', had a length of 32.4ft and was rigged as a yawl. He started at Casablanca, Morocco, because he didn't get permission to go through the Baltic Sea during winter time. Teliga sailed on westward via the Panama Canal into the Pacific Ocean. One time the boom crashed into his stomach, causing constant pain for the rest of the journey.

Bernard Moitessier


single-handed circumnavigation


Bernard Moitessier
In 1968 the Frenchman Bernard Moitessier took part in the Sunday Times Golden Globe solo round-the-world race and was leading the fleet far in front, had already crossed his outbound course and so finished a circumnavigation. But then for some unintelligible, inconceivable reason Moitessier changed his course, headed on eastward and continued on to Polynesia to finish a second circumnavigation. He became the first solo nonstop circumnavigator but of course was immediately disqualified regarding the Golden Globe race. Moitessier sailed a 12 met re steel-hulled ketch, the 'Joshua' he had built in 1961, and named it after Joshua Slocum. After his 37,000-mile (60,000 kilometer) voyage, Moitessier wrote "The Long Way", a classic sailing narrative.

Sir Alec Rose


single-handed circumnavigation


Sir Alec Rose
Alec Rose, born in Canterbury in 1908, was a fruit merchant in England who had a passion for amateur single-handed sailing. During World War II he served in the British Navy. In 1964, Rose participated in the second single-handed transatlantic race, placing fourth across the line in his 36 foot cutter 'Lively Lady'. Rose then modified the boat, including the addition of a mizzenmast, to sail single-handed around the world. He attempted to start this journey in 1966, but a series of misfortunes delayed Rose's departure until the following year. The journey was closely followed by the British press, and culminated in his successful return in Portsmouth on July 4, 1968, 354 days later, to cheering crowds of hundreds of thousands. The following day he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, and nine days later he turned 60 years old. His voyages are detailed in his book "My Lively Lady."

Robin Knox-Johnston


single-handed non-stop circumnavigation


Robin Knox Johnston
Sir William Robert Pat "Robin" Knox-Johnston began his sea-going career as an apprentice on the British India Line, assigned to a ship operating between Indian and Persian Gulf ports in the early 1960’s. He built 'Suhaili', a 35' double-ended Colin Archer-type ketch in Bombay. 'Suhaili' is the name given to the SE wind in the Persian Gulf by Arab seamen. Sir "RJK" has been a driving force in single-handed ocean sailing and racing for the past four decades including forming Clipper Ventures and organizing Around Alone. In the 1968 race he was the one and only out of ten participants, who reached the destination Falmouth after a struggle lasting 313 days. Inside Tairoa Heads, Otago/NZ Knox-Johnson ran aground, but he was able to free himself and his boat. Over the whole distance of 30,123 nm he sailed with an average speed of 4,02 knots. Nevertheless, he was not the first man sailing alone nonstop around the world. Sir "RJK" has written extensively with over two dozen books published including "A World of My Own, the story of the Golden Globe" in 1969 which has been translated into eight languages.

Robin Lee Graham


single-handed circumnavigation


Robin Lee Graham
After the Golden Globe most of the circumnavigations were cruises. In 1970 21-year-old Robin Lee Graham made history by becoming the youngest person to solo circumnavigate the globe. In 1965, Graham had departed southern California on a cruise that would take him around the world. What made his cruise remarkable was that Graham was 16 years old and his sloop, 'Dove', was 24 feet in length. What gave the cruise its impact on so many was the fact that National Geographic brought the story into millions of homes. People unfamiliar with sailing or cruising were given a glimpse of it for the first time. Graham also told his story in a book, Dove, which was later made into a movie with the same title. After Graham completed his journey many people realized that a circumnavigation or even a journey across an ocean was possible and in fact within reach of people with just a little bit of sailing experience.
> top

Ocean Racer

racing years

oceans crossed


Howard Blackburn


across the Atlantic Ocean

Great Western

Howard Blackburn
Howard Blackburn, born in Nova Scotia in 1859, first rose to fame in 1883. While he was fishing on the schooner 'Grace L. Fears', a sudden winter storm caught him and a dorymate unprepared while they were in their dory, leaving them separated from the schooner. Blackburn began to row for shore, despite the loss of his mittens; he knew his hands would freeze, so he kept them in the hooked position that would allow him to row. After five days with virtually no food, water, or sleep, he made it to shore in Newfoundland; but his companion had died during the journey. Blackburn's hands were treated for frostbite, but could not be saved; he lost all his fingers, and many of his toes. Blackburn returned to Gloucester a hero, but not content with this, he organized an expedition to the Klondike, via Cape Horn.
After the quest for gold failed, Blackburn turned his attention to a new challenge: to sail single-handed across the Atlantic Ocean. This had been done before, but for a man with no fingers to undertake such a voyage would be quite an accomplishment. He sailed from Gloucester in 1899, in the sloop 'Great Western', and reached England after 62 days at sea. In 1901, he sailed to Portugal in the twenty-five-foot sloop 'Great Republic', making the trip in 39 days. Howard also circumnavigated the Eastern United States by going down the Mississippi River and back up the Eastern Seaboard. Blackburn died in 1932.

Humphrey Barton


Atlantic Ocean

Vertue XXXV

Humphrey Barton
Humphrey Barton had been a blue-water voyager since 1929, when he sailed from Cowes to Spain and back with his younger brother and sister aboard 'Temptress', putting into forty ports in two months. After the war he had become a marine surveyor by profession, and recognized an excellent sea boat when he saw one. Humphrey Barton and Kevin O'Riordan took 'Vertue XXXV' on a legendary trip across the Atlantic in 1950 that was to be written up in his Bartons' famous account "Westward Crossing". One of the smallest yachts ever to complete a direct voyage from England to New York against the prevailing westerlies she was a newly built Laurent Giles-designed cutter and Humphrey Barton wrote affectionately that the Vertue was "the most perfect small ocean going yacht that has ever been built". In 1954 Humphrey Barton founded the Ocean Cruising Club (OCC).

Blondie Haslar


single-handed across the Atlantic Ocean


Blondie Haslar
Lt. Colonel H.G. "Blondie" Haslar born in Dublin, Ireland and was commissioned in the Royal Marines in 1932. In the same year Blondie’s sailing fame took off, when he sailed a fourteen-foot dinghy single-handed from Plymouth to Portsmouth and back. As leader of the "cockleshell heroes" he lead the legendary canoe raid in France during WWII. In 1960 he challenged Sir Francis Chichester to a single-handed Trans Atlantic race from Plymouth to New York, which was the first race of its' kind. Blondie then obtained the sponsorship of The Observer newspaper and so the RWYC Observer Single-Handed Trans-Atlantic Race, or OSTAR, came about.. Blondie sailed in a modified Nordic Folkboat, an extremely seaworthy long keeled 25 ft (7.68 m) long cruiser, called 'Jester', one of the smallest boats in the race, and finished second, taking 48 days to cross the Atlantic. Blondie used the boat as a floating laboratory to test and modify his ideas into usable components: He invented the "Haslar Gear" for self steering yachts enabled the skipper to set a course fixed at an angle to the prevailing wind allowing the single-handed sailor to take care of other duties aboard the vessel. He also pioneered the use of a Chinese junk-rig which allowed all sail adjustments to be done from the safety of the boat's cabin.

Francis Chichester


Trans-Atlantic race, single-handed circumnavigation

Gipsy Moth IV

Francis Chichester
In 1960 the English born Francis Chichester had managed the crossing in 40 days and in 1963 he won the first 'Observer' single hand Trans-Atlantic race. After a long and varied life between England and New Zealand he decided to circumnavigate the world using the route of the Australian Clippers of old. After three prototypes Chichester built his 'Gipsy Moth IV', length 53ft, two masts, yawl rig, 11.5 tons displacement. Starting on the 27th of August, 1966, he sailed single-handedly and nonstop from Plymouth via the Cape Agulhas to Sydney in 107 days. After some repairs Chichester went on, again nonstop, via the Pacific, Cape Horn back to England. He needed a total of 274 days and during the 226 days on sea he reached an average speed of 4.5 knots. Chichester's solo circumnavigation of the globe (the first with only one stop) caught the imagination of the country. His homecoming, attracted 250,000 well-wishers; Gipsy Moth IV, was taken to Greenwich to be exhibited beside the famous tea clipper, the Cutty Sark. Chichester was 66 years old and was knighted shortly thereafter.

Eric Tabarly


trans-atlantic OSTAR

Pen Duick II

Eric Taberly
A former officer in the French navy who is often considered the father of French yachting, Eric Tabarly was a record-setting distance sailor who won several notable races aboard his boats, all named 'Pen Duick'. In 1964 the 32 year-old French naval lieutenant Eric Tabarly won the 1964 OSTAR race taking just 27 days aboard his 44ft ketch 'Pen Duick II'. Tabarly, the only Frenchman in the race, was the sailor’s favorite for the race with the advantage of sailing the largest boat and only one purpose-built for the event. He had also carried out an in depth study of the weather and physically was very fit. Arriving in Newport, Rhode Island he had no prior knowledge of his win - he had not used his radio during the race - and almost as a passing comment let slip that his self-steering system had only worked for the first 8 days of the 27 days it took him to complete the course. At a depressed time in France, Tabarly became an overnight hero and for his endeavour was presented with his country’s highest honour, the Legion d’Honneur. In 1989 he was lost at sea when struck by a gaff during heavy swell and knocked overboard from his yacht while on the way to Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Dennis Conner


ocean racing

Stars & Stripes

Dennis Conner
Dennis Walter Conner (born September 16, 1942) is an American yachtsman who has participated in the America's Cup nine times. Conner won the America's Cup four times, in 1974, 1980, 1987 and 1988, but was also the first man to ever lose the famed cup to a challenger in 1983, as well as the first man to lose it twice. The first loss and subsequent win allowed Connor to claim the Cup for his home yacht club, the San Diego Yacht Club. Connor was skipper of the legendary 'Stars & Stripes' boats. Within the Yachting community, Conner is most famous for fundamentally changing the America's Cup, and racing in general, from an amateur to professional status.
Though the Cup is the symbol of his victories, Conner has captured many other awards. He has won world championships in boats from 11-feet to 80-feet. Conner has led two entries in the Whitbread Round The World Race, both in 1993-94 and in 1997-9. Prior to the Whitbread In 1993, Conner set a new Trans-Atlantic record. Until Conner’s attempt, the record had been held since 1905, then set by the 150-foot 'Atlantic'. Conner averaged 11 knots in his Whitbread-60 'Winston' in the Gold Cup race, setting the new record at 11 days and 8 hours. As an author Conner has recounted the motivation, teamwork and commitment to winning on and off the water in many books. He is often referred to as "Mr. America's Cup".

Sir Chay Blyth


non-stop single-handed circumnavigation westward

British Steel

Sir Chay Blyth
In 1966, whilst in the Army, Chay Blyth, together with Captain John Ridgway, rowed across the North Atlantic in a 20ft open dory called 'English Rose III'. After successfully completing this in 92 days Blyth was awarded the British Empire Medal. In 1971, at 30 years of age, Chay Blyth became the first person to sail westward non stop around the world alone. Leaving aboard the 59ft ketch 'British Steel' out of Hamble River, England on October 18th 1970, he rounded Cape Horn 292 days later on Christmas Eve. Two years later Blyth skippered a crew of paratroopers in the yacht 'Great Britain II', which took line honours in the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race, and in 1978 won the Round Britain Race in the yacht 'Great Britain IV'.
In 1984, with companion Eric Blunn in the trimaran 'Beefeater II', he capsized off Cape Horn during a New York - San Francisco record attempt and spent nineteen hours in the water before being rescued. Next year Blyth was co-skipper with Richard Branson on 'Virgin Atlantic Challenger', before founding the Challenge Business to organize the 1992/1993 British Steel Challenge. This event allowed ordinary people to sail around the world in a professionally organized race. In 1997, Blyth was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to sailing.
Cino Ricci


ocean racing


Cino Ricci
On Saturday, June 18th, 1983, Italy made a spectacular entrance to the America's Cup arena in Newport. 'Azzurra', the elegant 12-metre from the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda skippered by Cino Ricci and helmed by Mauro Pelaschier, won its first race by beating the French champion Bruno Troublé by 1 1/2 minutes in the opening race of the Louis Vuitton Cup.
> top

Clare Francis


single-handed circumnavigation, ocean racing

Robertson's Golly

Clare Francis
Clare Francis was born 17 April 1946 in Thames Ditton, Surrey, and spent summer holidays on the Isle of Wight, where she learnt to sail. She was educated at the Royal Ballet School then gained a degree in economics at University College London. After working in marketing for three years, she took time out in 1973 to make a single-handed voyage across the Atlantic, making the crossing from Falmouth to Newport, Rhode Island, in 37 days. Following this she received sponsorship to take part in the 1974 Round Britain Race with yachtswoman Eve Bonham, finishing in 3rd place. She followed that with more single-handed racing in 1975. In 1976 she competed in her Ohlson 38 'Robertson's Golly' in the Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic Race, finishing 13th overall and setting a new women's single-handed transatlantic record. In 1976 she took part again in L'Aurore Singlehanded Race. In 1977-78 she was the first woman skipper in the Whitbread Round the World Race, finishing in 5th place. After writing three accounts of her sailing expeditions she turned to fiction, and is the author of eight international bestsellers.

Sir Peter Blake


single-handed circumnavigation


Sir Peter Blake
Sir Peter Blake, born on October 1, 1948 in New Zealand, was a yachtsman who led his country to two successive America’s Cup victories. He previously won the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989, and the Jules Verne Trophy in 1994 by setting the fastest time around the world of 74 days 22 hours 17 minutes 22 seconds on 'Enza'. Blake was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1995 for services to yachting, and received an honorary doctorate in 2000 from AUT University. He was murdered by pirates on 6 December 2001 during an environmental exploration trip in South America.

Grant Dalton


ocean racing and circumnavigations

Club Med

Dalton Grant

Grant Dalton has raced around the world seven times. His first was the 1981-82 Whitbread on board the winning Dutch yacht 'Flyer II'. His most memorable circumnavigation was the 62-day winning sprint around the world as skipper of 'Club Med'. That race started Jan 1, 2001 and finished on March 3. 'Club Med' broke several records along the way including the distance sailed in 24 hours (656 nautical miles) and the fastest circumnavigation (62 days and 7 hours).

Paul Cayard


ocean racing and circumnavigation

EF Language

Paul Cayard
Paul Cayard's first sailing experience was at the age of eight in 1967 on Lake Merritt in Oakland, California. The Star class would become a life long passion for Cayard. In 2004 he finished 5th in the Star class at the Olympic Games in Athens. Cayard has competed in a broad range of ocean racing events with an impressive record. He has won the 1994 Kenwood Cup, the 1994 and 1996 Sardinia Cup, and the 1995 Admirals Cup. His top achievement in this arena was winning the 1997/1998 Whitbread Round the World race as skipper of 'EF Language'. He beat out 60 other yachts for the prize over a course of 32,000 miles (51,500 km). This was remarkable as it was his first ever Whitbread and he also became the first ever American to win the event. As of 2006, Cayard competed in the Volvo Ocean Race as skipper of 'Pirates of the Caribbean'. The team finished the overall race in 2nd place.

Ellen MacArthur


single-handed ocean racing, circumnavigations


Dame Ellen MacArthur
Ellen MacArthur acquired her early interest in sailing by reading Arthur Ransome's "Swallows and Amazons" books. Her first experience of sailing was on a boat owned by her Aunt on the east coast of England. At only 30, she has amassed an outstanding range of sailing achievements. Her remarkable feats include being the fastest woman and the youngest person to circumnavigate the earth in a solo yacht race in 2005. One of her other great triumphs was the spectacular second place she won in the 2000 Vendée Globe, the "Everest" of sailing, when she raced in her boat 'Kingfisher' solo non-stop around the world. Her next yacht, named 'B&Q/Castorama' and unveiled in January 2004, was specially designed by Nigel Irens and Benoit Cabaret for her to break solo records. The 75-foot trimaran was built in Australia. Using the yacht, her first significant record attempt in 2004 to break the west-east transatlantic crossing time failed by around one and a quarter hours, after over seven days of sailing.  She is one of the youngest people ever to be awarded the DBE (Dame Commander of the British Empire).
> top

Maverick Sailor

cruising years

cruising grounds


Jack London


San Francisco to Hawaii, South Seas


Jack London at the wheel of the Snark
Jack London is known to people the world over as the author of such novels as "The Call of the Wild" and "White Fang". In his short life of just forty years (1876-1916), he pursued a course of larger-than-life adventure as a sailor, tramp, common laborer, prospector, journalist, war correspondent, sociologist, and rancher. In 1906 London began to build a 45-foot yacht for a round-the-world voyage, to last seven years, as the basis for newspaper stories and a planned book. After many delays, Jack and Charmian London and a small crew sailed out of San Francisco Bay on April 23, 1907, bound for the South Pacific. For the next year and a half, the 'Snark' miraculously prevailed despite fundamental flaws in the design of the boat and the inexperience of the crew, who learned their duties en route. After calling in at Hawaii, the Marquesas, the Solomon Islands and Tahiti, the ill and weary Jack and Charmian London reluctantly abandoned the voyage, proceeding by steamer from the Solomons to Australia in November, 1908, for a rest before heading home. All of which became "The Cruise of the Snark".

Edward Keble Chatterton


English Channel, the Netherlands, French canals and the Mediterranean


Edward Keble Chatterton
One of the most prolific writers on maritime themes, Edward Keble Chatterton (1878-1944) issued around one hundred books, pamphlets and magazine series. Born in Sheffield, England, he moved to London. He took a B.A. at Oxford before beginning to write theatre and art reviews for various magazines. He undertook a number of small-boat voyages through the English Channel and the Netherlands; out of these voyages came magazine articles and books describing the passages as well as several books on the maritime art collections of the Low Countries. In the inter-war years, his output was continuous, and included many narrative histories of naval events, and a number of juvenile novels.
A member of the Royal Thames Yacht Club for many years, he carried out a multi-season voyage to the Mediterranean through the French canals. He described these in a further series of books: his journeys on the Canal de Nantes à Brest are outlined in "Through Brittany in Charmina: From Torbay to the Bay of Biscay in a 6-Tonner" (1933), journeys on the Canal du Midi are described in "To the Mediterranean in Charmina" (1934), and journeys along the French Riviera are described in "Charmina on the Riviera" (1937). After 1939, his writings focused on the conflict with Germany until his death in 1944.

Arthur Ransome


Thames Estuary, North Sea and the Northern Baltic


Arthur Ransome
Born in 1884 in Leeds, Arthur Ransome was to become a foreign correspondent for "The Manchester Guardian", as it was then known. Ransome was a man of many parts – political journalist, author, keen fisherman and accomplished sailor. A frequent visitor to the Lake District as a child, Ransome became a keen sailor, and the Lakes form the background for much of his writing, and descriptions of them, are ever present in the children's books Ransome wrote as an adult. "Racundra's Third Cruise" is the account of a cruise in his famous yacht 'Racundra', from Riga to Mitau via the River Aa in Russia during the summer of 1924. Illustrated with the author's own photos, the book is a combination of autobiography, travel and history - which helps explain its appeal to sailing enthusiasts and Ransome fans alike.
In 1935 the Ransomes moved to Pin Mill on the Suffolk coast. Soon after the move, Ransome bought the seven-ton Essex Oyster Smack 'Electron' and promptly renamed her 'Nancy Blackett'. His experiences aboard 'Nancy' prompted the writing of his next book, "We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea", published in November 1937, a North Sea adventure. Arthur Ransome died in June 1967 and is buried at Rusland in the Lake District.

Maurice Griffith


the Thames Estuary, Holland, the Channel

Lone Gull II

Maurice Griffith
Born in 1902, and spending much of his early life in Ipswich he gravitated to the water, like so many boys! His early sailing exploits led him to own a succession of small boats, then to write about them. After writing for "Yacht Sales and Charters", he went on to become it's editor, then later editor of "Yachting Monthly". Though best remembered for his spell book "The Magic of the Swatchways", with which he bewitched countless small boat cruisers, he actually wrote some twenty titles and designed many boats, the 'Eventide' and 'Lone Gull II' the best known. His latest book "Sailing on a Modest Income" was published in 1996. He was awarded the George Medal for his work during WW2, and was always reticent to discuss it. Reading his biography, "The Magician of the Swatchways" gave a little insight into this dangerous work. Postwar he returned to writing and his place at the helm of "Yachting Monthly". On his retirement he moved to West Mersea, Essex, overlooking the River Blackwater. He died at the age of ninety five.

Edward Allcard


single-handed circumnavigation

Sea Wanderer

Edward Allcard
Edward Allcard was born 31st October, 1914. He was taught to sail on the Thames, aged six, by his grandfather’s boatman. When he was 12, his grandfather died leaving him a 15ft dinghy, the first of Edward’s 18 boats. Before WWII, Edward qualified as a naval architect doing much of his apprenticeship on the Clyde. His free time was spent sailing the Scottish west coast or driving a series of motorbikes and sports cars. He completed his first single-handed voyage in 1939, going to Norway and back. During the war he designed and worked in air-sea rescue craft. In 1950/51 he sailed both ways across the Atlantic single-handedly in 'Temptress' (a 34ft gaff yawl, built in 1910). He wrote two books: ‘Single-handed Passage’ and ‘Temptress Returns’ about the voyages. Whilst in New York he spotted 'Sea Wanderer' lying derelict in the mud of the Hudson River. A 36ft wooden ketch, she had been built in Lubeck, Germany in 1911. Edward bought her for $250 and then sailed 'Temptress' to UK and took a job to fit 'Sea Wanderer' out to fulfil his dream of sailing single-handed round the world. He was to do so at a leisurely pace: 12 years to cross his outward passage, 16 from start to finish, earning his living as he went. He circumnavigated without sponsorship, ship-to-shore radio, sat. nav. or life-raft. He wrote "Voyage Alone" about the first part of this trip. In 1967 he met his wife, Clare, 31 years his junior. In 1969 their daughter Kate was born and the same year Edward continued his solo circumnavigation with the family joining him in the West Indies where he completed his voyage in 1973. In 1974 Edward sold 'Sea Wanderer' and bought 'Johanne Regina', a 69ft gaff-rigged ex-Baltic trader built 1929 for the same money. They spent the next 30 odd years restoring her, first sailing back to their palm-thatched hut in the Seychelles and then on to the Far East. They finally returned to Europe in 1985 though Edward continued to spend half the year aboard and Clare joined him for the summer. Finally in 2006, 85 years after his first sail, Edward decided, aged 91, to hang up the anchor.

Eric and Susan Hiscock


numerous circumnavigations

Wanderer III

Eric and Susan Hiscock
Eric and Susan Hiscock lived on the Isle of Wight and like everyone else were close to the sea. Eric's first boat was an 18-foot sloop, built in the 1890s and named 'Wanderer'. She was all Eric could afford when he bought her for $125. The internationally famous Jack Laurent Giles was just getting started as a yacht designer when Eric approached him to build 'Wanderer II'. The result was a fast and handy little sloop of 21-foot waterline and 7-foot beam. In her, they made a honeymoon cruise to the Azores and back along the coast of Spain and France. Now they wanted to see more of the world, but in a larger yacht. So they went back to Jack Giles and he drew up 'Wanderer III', an enlarged Vertue, 30 feet overall, with a waterline of 26 feet 6 inches and a beam of 8 feet 6 inches. For the next 17 years, Wanderer III roamed the oceans of the world, the Hiscocks becoming the first couple to make two circumnavigations.
Early in his sailing career, Hiscock had begun to write accounts of his cruises for the yachting magazines, illustrating them with his own photographs. On the first circumnavigation, the Hiscocks also helped defray expenses with articles and photography. 'Wanderer III', and later 'Wanderer IV', was equipped with a darkroom. The several books that resulted from these voyages became best-sellers among yachting and cruising folk. The income from these prompted them to sell their home and cut their ties permanently with land-living. On the second circumnavigation, they filmed the voyage for a television documentary, which earned them enough to build 'Wanderer IV', a large and commodious 49-foot steel ketch.

H.W. Tilman


Greenland and Antarctic waters


Harold William "Bill" Tillman
Harold William "Bill" Tilman was born on 14 February 1898 in Cheshire, England, the son of a well-to-do sugar merchant. At the age of 18, Tilman was commissioned into the Royal Artillery and fought in the First World War. His climbing career, however, began with his acquaintance with Eric Shipton in, East Africa, where they were both coffee growers. Beginning with their joint traverse of Mount Kenya in 1929 and their ascents of Kilimanjaro, Shipton and Tilman formed one of the most famed partnerships in mountaineering history. When it came time to leave Africa, Tilman was not content with merely flying home but rode a bicycle across the continent to the West Coast where he embarked for England.
Following his military career behind enemy lines in the Second World War, Tilman took up blue water sailing. Sailing in deep seas on the Bristol Channel pilot cutter 'Mischief', which he purchased in 1954, and subsequently on his other pilot cutters 'Sea Breeze' and 'Baroque', Tilman voyaged to Arctic and Antarctic waters in search of new and uncharted mountains to climb. On his last voyage in 1977, in his eightieth year, Tilman was invited to ship as crew with mountaineers sailing to the South Atlantic to climb Smith Island.

Tom and Roz Cunliffe


the Thames Estuary, the Atlantic Ocean & Caribbean


Tom and Roz Cunliffe
Tom and Roz Cunliffe sailed 'Saari', a 1920 pilot cutter designed by the legendary Scots/Norwegian, Colin Archer to Rio and back via the Caribbean and Canada, then home across the North Atlantic far too late in the year. They took a bad hammering, but she looked after them. They fell in love with the gaff rig then and despite his deep professional involvement with more modern arrangements their emotional attachment to it has remained strong. In the Eighties, their new boat 'Hirta', a big 1911 Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter took them to the Greenland ice, Russia, the Caribbean, the States and Newfoundland. 'Hirta' was their home for five years and they had her fifteen in all.
Tom has written much of the text of "The Shell Channel Pilot" to expand our assessment of ports and harbours and in his inimitable way describes more thoroughly the localities to be found. Explaining the sailing characteristics of classic craft, "Hand, Reef and Steer" describes how to handle heavy loads using tackles and making the boat work for you. It offers valuable advice on setting up the rig; sail handling skills; maneuvering a long-keel boat and steering with sails.

Michael Emmett


Thames Estuary, English Channel

Ostrea Rose

Michael Emmett on Betty, 2003
Michael Emmett's family worked smacks from Maldon and he followed this tradition with his own career as a fisherman. It was as a professional fisherman that he had the smack 'Ostrea Rose' built at Heybridge for oyster dredging in Lawlings Creek. This smack's design, like its owner is firmly rooted in the past. However in the early 1980s an oyster disease swept through the Blackwater making it impossible for commercial oyster fishing to continue. "Living In The Backwaters" is the autobiographical account of Michael Emmett's career as a fisherman, and more recently, as cruising skipper in and around the Essex Coast of England. As the last of the working oyster-dredgers in the area, Michael is more than qualified to recount some of the experiences and atmosphere of the place. Long held in high regard by local yachtsmen and still full of local characters, the Essex estuaries and swatchways that Michael writes so well about still hold a fascination for sailors of a romantic disposition. Rumour has it that Emmett wrote this book in about 30 days while aboard his beloved 'Ostrea Rose,' and one can just imagine him and his boat perched on a mud bank near Maldon at low tide.

James Morrison and Niki Perryman




Jamie Morrison and Niki Perryman
James "Jamie" Morrison and Niki Perryman have owned 'Siandra', the 35 foot Arthur Robb-designed Lion-class sloop since 1992 and have been slowly circumnavigating ever since. They have spent months, sometimes years, in ports along the way and returned to favourite places over and over for a meandering global circumnavigation that's covered about 60,000 sea miles. They've transited the Red Sea, overwintered above the Arctic Circle in Norway, spent a summer in Brookline, Maine, and lived for a few years in New Zealand. Niki also contributes regularly to international boating magazines (British readers will recognize Niki as a columnist for "Classic Boat" magazine).
This page is dedicated to the many cruisers who have inspired me and who have given me confidence to be building this chapter on cruising. Trusting their advice i am going on cruises aboard my little ship again and again. Thanks goes to everyone who sent me pictures and information.  Without your help this site would not have been possible!  Please keep sending your material, and i will keep improving the pages!

top | homepage | log | photos | crew | site map | links

© Jan Holthusen 2012 | Webmaster