thinking outside the tank

Joshua Slocum in Google Earth: Cape Virgins to Punta Arenas

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Follow Joshua Slocum’s Sailing Alone Around the World at:

The Spray rounds Cape Virgins and enters the Strait of Magellan on 11Feb1896. A gale is whipping up spume, the sea is rough, and the tide runs strongly, but the yacht is sturdy and pushes through to calmer water.

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Slocum seems to have a sixth sense or at least a very keen awareness of his surroundings. Probably it was his three decades of sea-going experience that gave him the ability to anticipate danger; the shout of “Spray ahoy!” is his way of recognising that something subliminal has surfaced to his consciousness. Certainly at sea, one senses the movement of the boat, one hears the changing winds, and one can read the future in the appearance of the horizon.

Having rounded Cape Virgins, Slocum suffers 30 hours of gale-force winds and, of the first half-hour, he writes: “it was something to be remembered by way of a gale”; a classic piece of understatement from Slocum’s pen.

The Spray regularly douses her sails in the waves during the gale, but eventually the strength of the wind lessens to a ‘smart breeze’ and Slocum sails Spray into Punta Arenas (Sandy Point) on 14Feb1896.

Copyright © Colin Hazlehurst, 2012

If you like the presentation of Slocum’s voyage at:, then you may also enjoy Cook’s first voyage round the world at:


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