At Sea

Sailing for life

We are well aware of the fact that roads do not draw any path across the oceans. However, there are many locos in the water too and we wanted to include a category dedicated to those people who have decided to travel the world while sitting on a boat.

Starting from the man who first circumnavigated the world on a sailing boat to the present-day revolutionary challenges at sea, here are a few examples of how it is a traveler’s life in high waters.

Joshua Slocum

Joshua Slocum was born in Nova Scotia on February 20, 1844 and believed to have died on the 14th of November 1909 (or shortly after this date). Fifth of eleven children, naturalized American, he was not only a seaman and a great adventurer but also a noted writer. In fact, he wrote the book titled Sailing Alone Around the World, which became a best-seller among the tales written at the dawn of the 20th century.

His life has been tumultuous since his adolescense. At the age of just 14 he left home for the first time, finding work as cabin boy and cook on a fishing boat. His adventure didn’t last long thou, and he soon returned home where he stayed until his sixteenth birthday, when he left home for good and became a seamen on a merchant ship bound to Dublin, Ireland.

He spent his all life at sea, first working and then commanding on a number of merchant ships, earning the trust of the biggest shipping companies in the USA. In 1892, a friend, Captain Eben Pierce, offered Slocum a ship (called the Spray) that “needed some repairs”. Upon inspection and after a massive overhaul, Slocum decided to keep the original name of the ship. The Spray will be his ship of choice to attempt the world circumnavigation.

At the age of 51, he set sail from the port of Boston, Massachusetts, only to return in the United States more than three years later, after having completed the first world solo circumnavigation. In November 1909, abord the Spray, he set sail for the West Indies in one of his usual winter trips. He would never be heard from again.

Krystyna Chojnowska-Liskiewicz & Naomi James

Now that we know who was the first man to perform a solo circumnavigation, let’s see who were the first women to ever attempt and succeed in this venture. Thier names are Krystyna Chojnowska-Liskiewicz & Naomi James.

The first, Krystyna, is a polish woman born on July 15th 1936 and with a strong vocation to anything related to the sea. Towards the end of February 1976, almost a century after Joshua Slocum had set the first record for solo circumnavigation, Krystyna sailed from the Canary Islands aboard Mazurek: a 9,51 meters sloop (single mast ship with only one head-sail) who was built under the supervision of Chojnowska-Liskiewicz’s husband. She completed her voyage around the globe in less than two years, returning at Las Palmas de Gran Canarias on April 21st 1978, having sailed 31,166 nautical miles (57,719 km) in 401 days.

She chose traveled westbound, crossing the Atlantic Ocean to Barbados. where she entered the Caribbean Sea to the Panama Canal, and hence to the Pacific Ocean. After crossing the Pacific, Krystyna sailed via Tahiti and Fiji to Australia, and then west across the Indian Ocean via Mauritius. After passing the Cape of Good Hope, she sailed north, and navigated back to her starting point. On 18 June 1978, she returned to Poland, where she is still seen like a national hero.

Naomi James was born in New Zealand on March 2nd 1949 and she entered history for being the first woman to sail single-handed around the world via Cape Horn in a non-stop voyage. Curiously enough, she never learned how to swim until she was 23 and she was a hairdresser until she boarded a passenger boat for Europe. At age 26, in Saint-Malo, France, she met her future husband Rob James, from whom she would learn everything she knew about sailing.

James’ voyage is notable as she was the first woman to single-handedly sail the clipper route, traveling eastabout and south of the three great capes; and she completed a fast (although with assistance) circumnavigation in just 272 days. As established byt the rules of the World Sailing Speed Record Council, a circumnavigation of the globe for speed record purposes has to start and finish in the English Channel; James started and finished her voyage in Dartmouth, therefore fulfilling this condition.

Energy Observer – First Green Powered World Circumnavigation

Let’s now talk about another round-the-world boat trip, but this time it is about a story that is happening while you are reading these words. Its name is Energy Observer and it is a former catamaran that has been renewed and extended (by 6 meters) to be ready to undertake a challenge that is going to be epic!

Relying only on renewable energies like solar and wind, this futuristic looking ship is ready to embark on a 6 years  journey around the world. The Energy Observer is also equipped with an autonomous means of producing hydrogen. “If there’s no sun or wind, or if it’s night, stored hydrogen – generated by electrolysis powered by the solar panels and two wind turbines – will take over,” said Victorien Erussard, who is working at this project

This venture is as long lasting as it is expensive. It’s enough to think that over 4M Euros have been invested just to equip the catamaran with a scientific LAB and the journey is expected to cost at least 4M per year…good luck on getting funded!

Project Slow Marquesas

Marquesas is an archipelago of volcanic islands in French Polynesia, right in the middle of Pacific Ocean. The location itself could tell stories which beauty go beyond imagination. Crystal clear water, clean air and genuine inhabitants are among the reasons that brought Captain and writer Aline Dargie & photojournalist Julien Girardot to these lost lands.

In the fall of 2016 they started a sailing journey in French Polynesia, departing from their headquarter in the atoll of Fakarava to explore the other islands of Tuamotu archipelago. After that, their plan is to move on to other islands of the French Polynesia while continuing to create original reportages telling stories about modern Marquesas society, traditions and food. They travel with an Edel Cat 35 Open, which is basically a catamaran, and they gave it the name “Pizza”.

We love them so much because of the great idea that they came up with: to build little canoes out of recycled materials. Obviously they’re not real-size canoes that can hold the weight of a man and sail off. They are instead more similiar to floating toys. What makes this idea so great thou, is the fact that every little canoe that they build is made out of scrap materials washed up from the ocean. Pieces of bamboo to build the hull, plastic bottles to create the mainmast and plastic bags employed as sails. This is a great way to have fun while doing something useful for the environment too and help keeping this world of ours a little more clean.

As they state in their Facebook page: “We practice everyday tasks together, observing and learning with patience and mutual respect. At appropriate times, we ask questions, to go beyond voyeuristic depictions of exotic folklore, and honestly tell stories of the human experience here, today.”

Are you on a crazy voyage as well? Maybe you sailed in the past or perhaps you are cruising in the middle of the Pacific Ocean right now? Share your crazy travel stories with us.