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Sailing Alone Around The World
by Joshua Slocum, Illust. By Thomas Fogarty And George Varian
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New York Times, August 1995
...a literate and absorbing yarn published in 1900 and still in print....His story is a convincing tale of the intelligence, skill and fortitude that drove a master navigator.
When Joshua Slocum sailed alone around the world, he traveled in good company. He found himself particularly well suited to the adventure. While Slocum relished the companionship he found in port, he was equally at peace when alone on the face of the deep. The secret to his successful voyage? "I made companions with what was around me." Alan Sklar's warm, unhurried reading conveys the author's genial practicality and the good humor with which he approached the wonders and challenges of three years and forty thousand miles. Sklar's precision and ease with nautical terms add authenticity to his performance. T.J.W. © AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine
Latitudes & Attitudes, May/June 2002
"This is an insight into a great trip, with thrills and trials, and a lot of fun."
Small Boat Journal, August/September 1988
Sailing Alone Around the World could have been written yesterday. It flows free and easy and is filled with amusing anecdotes....Any sailor who loves the sea will be brought up short from time to time by the quiet eloquence of Slocum's writing.
Yachting, June 1994
What can you say about a book that has been acclaimed as one of the great sea classics? Well, first I could say that this is the original edition without the deletions that are found in some versions. Second, it's a compact size that should fit the bookshelves on most yachts, so you can keep a copy aboard for enjoying during a quiet evening. Last, I could say that this is quite a reasonable price, particularly considering the escalating costs of most nautical books. If you haven't read Slocum, you should, and this is the volume for you.
Classic Boat, November 1996
Surely one of the all-time classic sailing narratives, this is more than just an account of a fascinating and often arduous journey, it has also given rise to a mythology all its own.
WoodenBoat, March/April 1994
I can't imagine any literate boat lover who hasn't read Slocum's classic book about his voyage. I can remember when and where I bought my first copy of Sailing Alone Around the World, the weather conditions that day, how much I paid, and the color of the cover....I can't remember how long it took me to read the book, but I do remember turning pages through a sleepless night and then raving like a lunatic at the breakfast table about how I was going to chuck it all and hit the high seas. "Not before you take out the trash and mow the lawn," my old man said. If you haven't read Sailing Alone, don't tell me about it. Buy a copy and get on with the job.
The New Yorker, September 7, 1998
A classic book....Slocum's writing is as elegant as his thirty-seven-foot sloop, Spray, whose crossing of the Atlantic he describes vividly.
But what yawing about she made of it when she came with a stranger at the helm! Her old friend the pilot of the Pinta would not have been guilty of such lubberly work. But to my great delight they got her into a berth, and the neuralgia left me then, or was forgotten. The captain of the steamer, like a true seaman, kept his word, and his agent, Mr. Collishaw handed me on the very next day the price of the lost anchor and chain, with something over for anxiety of mind. I remember that he offered me twelve pounds at once; but my lucky number being thirteen, we made the amount thirteen pounds, which squared all accounts.
Already a seasoned old salt when he undertook the challenge, Slocum became the first person to sail around the world alone. In 1895 he left Boston in the 37' "Spray", returning in 1898.
From the Publisher
7 1-hour cassettes
Excerpted from Sailing Alone Around the World: The Classic Circumnavigation Adventure by Joshua Slocum. Copyright © 2001. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Joshua Slocum, one of the most famous of American sea captains, really was the first to single-handedly circumnavigate the world. The epitome of Yankee independence, he had risen from a seaman to the captain of his own ship. Marooned in Brazil, he built a "canoe" in which he returned to America (see The Voyage of the Liberdade). At loose ends at fifty-one, he was offered an old oyster boat which he rebuilt into the 37' Spray and in 1895 he took off from Boston for the Straits of Gibraltar.
He is a captivating writer as well; observant, humorous, and evocative:
"For, one day, well off the Patagonian coast, while the sloop was reaching under short sail, a tremendous wave, the culmination, it seemed, of many waves, rolled down upon her in a storm, roaring as it came. I had only a moment to get all sail down and myself up on the peak halliards, out of danger, when I saw the mighty crest towering masthead-high above me. The mountain of water submerged my vessel. She shook in every timber and reeled under the weight of the sea, but rose quickly out of it, and rode grandly over the rollers that followed. It may have been a minute that from my hold in the rigging I could see no part of the Spray's hull. Perhaps it was even less time than that, but it seemed a long while, for under great excitement one lives fast, and in a few seconds one may think a great deal of one's past life."
He met determined pirates in Tierra del Fuego:
"I was not for letting on that I was alone, and so I stepped into the cabin, and, passing through the hold, came out at the fore-scuttle, changing my clothes as I went along. That made two men. Then the piece of bowsprit which I had sawed off at Buenos Aires, and which I had still on board, I arranged forward on the lookout, dressed as a seaman, attaching a line by which I could pull it into motion. That made three of us..."
In Africa he met the explorer Henry Stanley:
"Mr. Stanley was a nautical man once himself, - on the Nyanza, I think, - and of course my desire was to appear in the best light before a man of his experience. He looked me over carefully, and said,
'What an example of patience!'
'Patience is all that is required,' I ventured to reply.
He then asked if my vessel had water-tight compartments. I explained that she was all water-tight and all compartment.
'What if she should strike a rock?' he asked.
'Compartments would not save her if she should hit the rocks lying along her course,' said I; adding, 'she must be kept away from the rocks.'
After a considerable pause Mr. Stanley asked, 'What if a swordfish should pierce her hull with its sword?'
Of course I had thought of that as one of the dangers of the sea, and also of the chance of being struck by lightning. In the case of the swordfish, I ventured to say that 'the first thing would be to secure the sword.'
So this is where Jack London got the idea for watertight compartments! (see Cruise of the Snark, available from The Narrative Press) Discover for yourself why everyone reads this book (called a sailor's Walden) - even if you're not planning a solo sailing trip. And take it with you if you are!
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