The lone sailor

A brave girl.

“Jessica’s Mission: 22,000 nautical miles, 7-8 months, one young woman alone, facing all that the sea and the weather can throw at her. This is the challenge that Jessica will overcome.”

Records and competition aside, she is continuing in the grand tradition of solo globe circumnavigation in the wake of the greats: Joshua Slocum, Francis Chichester, and that tramp of the sea, Bernard Moitessier.

Here’s wishing Jessica all the best and a fruitful personal journey as she sails forth in her trim YoungestRound; as had Slocum in his oyster sloop the Spray which “steers itself”, Chichester in his fleet-footed Gipsy Moth, and Moitessier in his mind-boggling heavy steel-hulled Joshua, which takes all weather come hell or high water.

Moitessier is of course famous for his “crazed” decision in the 1968/69 Race Around The World [route map], where after rounding Cape Horn and comfortably leading in the final stretch back to England, he abandoned the race and sailed on in his own (long) Way and stopped only after circling the globe one and a half times.



“You do not ask a tame seagull why it needs to disappear from time to time toward the open sea. It goes, that’s all.”

“I am a citizen of the most beautiful nation on earth. A nation whose laws are harsh yet simple, a nation that never cheats, which is immense and without borders, where life is lived in the present. In this limitless nation, this nation of wind, light, and peace, there is no other ruler besides the sea.”

-Bernard Moitessier, from his “The Long Way”

What did Moitessier see… ?


5 thoughts on “The lone sailor

  1. Don, Thanks for another addition to my ever-growing Amazon ‘save for later’ list; there are quite a few of your ideas there now. Fortunately for my bank balance I’m developing the discipline not to buy until there’s time to read. Nigel

  2. Nigel,

    This one probably can trace its beginings in my childhood readings of the “Greatest Adventure Stories for Boys” series (if I remember correctly, excerpts from other books/stories?) . I still remember the pale-blue hardcover of the particular volume containing many wonderful sailing tales…

    Actually wrote quite a few lines regarding Moitessier’s “The Long Way” before deciding to delete them all. Guess I’ll just say this:
    Moitessier is poetic and writes well; but his most important message was expressed already — first in his refusal of radio communication at the begining of the mentioned race (his idea of true ‘solo’ voyage), and then the decision to abandon the race/what it stood for and to sail on his own way.
    But of course “The Long Way” is still a wonderful read filled with poignant descriptions of the natural world (oceans+sky) and one man’s place in it.

    A good complement to a shelf with Edward Abbey watching over his canyonlands against the accursed Tourist, Annie Dillard tinkering at her creek and trying to stay warm while distilling the writing life on her frozen seashore, and of course Thoreau rhapsodizing by his pond or going a-sauntering to his mountain…


  3. Hi Don, I definitely do not understand people who need to prove to themselves and to the world that they can… though much achievement and progress is singularly based on this need.

    Glad to see you blogging… :)

  4. Hi legacy,

    Yep, people have the most diverse and compelling reasons to do the ‘crazy’ things they do. The need to ‘prove and show’ can be a strange one… At the same time, there will be others who may accomplish the same but are impelled by very different forces; we just dont hear about them.

    Actually, my initial posting of references on this site for comments made at your blog (and one other!) was one of the main reasons for subsequently putting some of my rambling thoughts here. So, I guess I’m blogging because of you guys.


  5. Don, I’ll take no credit whatsoever but will happily take the benefits of your “rambling thoughts” when you post. Please continue to post when you can. I wish I had some more time recently, so much to write so little time…

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