Alone at Sea: The Adventures of Joshua Slocum

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9780385257206: Alone at Sea: The Adventures of Joshua Slocum

The true story of Canada's greatest sailor, the first to sail around the world single-handedly.

When Joshua Slocum sailed into port in Massachusetts on June 27, 1898, he was the first man ever to have completed a voyage around the world without technology, money or companion. It took him three years to cover the 46,000 miles, and along the way he was chased by pirates, buffeted by storms, and narrowly escaped death by sharks. When a goat ate his charts, he managed to navigate through the Caribbean by memory and intuition.

This is the true-life adventure story of an extraordinary man, who ran away to sea at sixteen and never looked back. Born on a farm in Nova Scotia, he apprenticed on voyages to China, Hong Kong and Indonesia; met and married his wife in Sydney, Australia, and raised his family aboard sailing vessels in ports around the world. He survived mutinies, lost cargoes, terrible storms, and treacheries at sea before resolving on his voyage around the world in a dilapidated oyster sloop he named The Spray. After settling down and writing his memoirs, he set sail on November 14, 1909, and was never seen again.

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About the Author:

Ann Spencer is a freelance writer and broadcaster. She is a regular contributor to magazines and produces radio documentaries. She lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

From Kirkus Reviews:

A biography of mariner and first solo-circumnavigator Slocum, drenched in reverence, from Canadian journalist Spencer. Her account of Slocum, by any measure an eccentric larger-than-life personality, manages to be both prosaic and enormously romantic. Spencer details the sailor's experiences, culled from a wealth of sources, including an earlier biography and Slocum's writings, in relentlessly chronological order. And with each step he takes, Spencer is so transfixed by her subject that she forgives any possible lapse in judgment, let alone any weakness of character, leaving it up to the reader to shape Slocum into a compelling figure. As Slocum rose through the sailing ranks, developing a name as a savvy, intuitive mariner, he was also gaining a reputation for violencetwice brought up on charges, once for killing a sailor, another time for keeping one in chains for monthsglossed over by Spencer, who concurs with the comment from a seaman under Slocum: ``a hard man but no one ever felt unsafe under his command.'' Spencer ignores the ambiguity. As the days of sail wane, and Slocum's reputation as a captain declines, he chances into command of a beat-up oyster sloop. He tinkers it into shape and, by golly, takes the Spray around the world solo, the first such voyage. He returns with stories to tellof cannibals, pirates, and typhoons, rogue waves and phosphorescent seas, of being taken for the Antichrist and being accused of believing the world is roundand with a book to write; then he goes and gets arrested for the rape of a 12-year-old. Though Slocum had had such trouble before, Spencer dismisses the incident as unlikely (though Slocum pled no contest). In November 1908, Slocum sailed from Martha's Vineyard for the West Indies and was never heard from again. Spencer does her darnedest to make two derelictsSlocum and the Sprayinto heroic figures thumbing their noses at time's march, but they are too seedy to take the shine and as roguish as any unpredictable wave. (22 b&w photos) -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Ann Spencer
Published by Doubleday Canada (1998)
ISBN 10: 0385257201 ISBN 13: 9780385257206
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