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Thread: Long Journeys in Small Boats

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Long Journeys in Small Boats

    Hey Folks,

    We (Emmett, Claire, the Antique Boat Museum) are working on an exhibit about small boat voyaging, and would love some input from the venerable WB Forumites. What’re the coolest voyages/voyagers? How many can we think of?

    This exhibit idea came out of wanting to celebrate journeys like J. MacGregor and the Rob Roy Canoe in Europe in the 1860s, G.W. Sears in the Adirondacks in 1870s-80s, all the way to Robert Manray and Tinkerbelle and maybe some outliers like Kon Tiki and Bas Jan Ader, an artist lost at sea in 1976. We are in the planning stages now, but the more we look into the subject the more voyages we hear about. So many!

    We want to compile a long list, as complete as possible, of small boat voyages. Please help by putting up your favorites, or any you can think of really, along with a source of information. They must be journeys that are remarkable for their length in miles and span of time, they must be voyages of choice (not shipwreck survivors) and they should be journeys undertaken for their own sake—in other words, the point of the journey is the voyage itself, not exploration, transportation, etc. And non-powered, at least for the most part. These lines will be fuzzy of course, but you get the idea! They can be from any place or time period.

    We really look forward to your input. We will gladly share the list with anyone who wants it at the end. One element of the exhibit may be a lending library, so please list any books that come to mind! We may have to have a RAID at ABM, too… Winter is the time for research, and dreaming of next year’s outings…
    All Best,
    Emmett & Claire
    Last edited by Antique Boat Museum; 01-03-2013 at 11:18 AM.

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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    Please define your idea of small.
    Gerard>
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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    From Paul Gartsides's website:

    "Blue Skies" is an oddball little boat that we built several years ago with and for our oddball friend Bill Hayward.


    http://www.gartsideboats.com/custom-...design-92.html

    She was built for this extended trip: http://www.coastandkayak.com/1997/on97blueskies.html
    "Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates." ~ Mark Twain


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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    Webb Chiles sailed a 18 ft Drascombe Lugger (open boat, no cabin) from San Diego westward around the world to the Canary Islands in the early 1980s.

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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    Verlen Kruger's 28,000 mile Ultimate Canoe Challenge

    http://www.krugercanoes.com/pr02.htm

    Verlen stayed a night at my friends house on his way through Fulton, NY but I didn't get a chance to meet him there , but I did meet him in Waitsfield Vt after it was all done.

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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    Rowing to Latitude:

    Journeys Along the Arctic's Edge

    Jill Fredston

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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    You probably already have this, but "A Speck on the Sea" by William Longyard pretty much covers the history of small-boat voyaging.
    A small sailing craft is not only beautiful, it is seductive and full of strange promise and the hint of trouble. -- E.B. White

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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    Are you familiar with the antics of Sam McKinney? Numerous writings on his trips.

    How about Robin Cody's canoe voyage from the headwaters of the Columbia River - in the Canadian Rockies - to the mouth - at Astoria, Oregon? 1800 miles or so. His book about the trip is called Voyage of a Summer Sun.
    David G
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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    Webb Chiles--near circumnavigation in 18-footer: http://www.inthepresentsea.com/the_a...ite/books.html

    Frederic Fenger--Caribbean voyages in Yakaboo sailing canoe: http://ambergriscaye.com/pages/mayan..._contents.html

    Tom
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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    Some of these redefine small boats/long voyages...

    http://www.microcruising.com/famoussmallboats.htm
    Everything changes . Everything is connected . Pay attention

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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    Folks,

    The Speck on the Sea book is pretty decent but there are a lot more, especially when you get into the modern yachting era, CCA founding etc. You may want some parameters like open boat voyaging or some such or a time cut off.

    One of the places that has a collection of transatlantic boats is the Museum of Yachting in Newport.

    If you want to get into notable 'yacht' voyages, find the CCA website and have a look for the Blue Water medals and medalists.

    Ben
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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    It'd be interesting to parse Long Journeys in Small Boats by historical era, and in turn what drove people to make those journeys.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    David Lewis in 'Icebird'

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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    Tristan Jones.....May be fiction though

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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    Captain Bligh's 47 day 3,618 nautical mile voyage in a 23' open boat without charts to Timor.

    Ernest Shackleton and Voyage of the James Caird.
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    My favorites are: Canoeing the Adirondacks with Nessmuk: George Washington Sears on his written narrative of his days spent voyaging the Adirondacks with his J Henry Rushton Wee Lassie and other Rushton canoes. Mississippi Solo by Eddy L Harris. A modern day narrative of a young black man's voyage of the Mississippi, from the top to the bottom and his subsequent encounters with both the river, it's wild life and the people he met. Most were welcoming, some not. Old Glory by Jonathan Raban. The British author's voyage down the Mississippi in his small, open outboard powered boat. A study in the human condition, too. Just a great personal look into the people and attitudes along the riverbanks. His encounter with a dangerous local in Houma, LA made it clear to this reader how an innocent situation can quickly escalate into a life and death split moment decision to run for your life. One of the best travel narratives of going down that great river. And finally, River Horse by William Least Heat Moon. In my humble opinion, THE greatest travel narrative by small boat ever. Least Heat Moon plans to travel the inland waterways to make his way from New York City to the mouth of the Columbia River in Washington state. By using his C-Dory skiff, outboard powered canoe and with an assist from the National Park Service he completed his mission, with a good natured tale or two to tell! The grand-daddy of American travel narratives. I never tire of reaching for this book and reliving his adventures!

    Of course, Old Glory and River Horse feature an assist by internal combustion, but nevertheless these remain remarkable voyages and tales!

    Take Care,
    Mike
    Last edited by M. J. Notigan; 01-03-2013 at 01:02 PM.

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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    I'd have to say I am less interested in the stunts. I don't care about trying to get into a record book. A journey/trip/voyage is an experiential thing. It may be in a very small boat, it may be on a lean budget, or perhaps you can get an "ideal" boat, whatever that is to you.
    The story of the trip is another journey, this time in the imagination.

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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    Quote Originally Posted by Yeadon View Post
    It'd be interesting to parse Long Journeys in Small Boats by historical era, and in turn what drove people to make those journeys.
    Some of the most well known were survival journeys. Others were done purely out of recreation or publicity. A well known example of a hybrid of these would be
    Joshua Slocum's journey home from South America in the "Voyage of the Liberdade" 1890.

    There does seem to have been a great age of long distance journeying in the smallest craft possible for stunting and fun in the late 19th Century. It appears to have been a similar social phenomenon as we see people doing today trying to be the fastest or youngest what have you to circumnavigate. I have seen a lot of examples and some have been mentioned here already. Here is a list of several publicity stunt type Atlantic crossings and attempted crossing by a couple of late 19th Century rivals. They tended to use different craft each time and all well under 20' LOA.

    http://maritimemoments.wordpress.com...n-small-boats/

    (The person who published this online seems to have lifted some of the specific details almost verbatim from published hardbound works of historian Edward R. Snow.)
    Last edited by Dave_C; 01-03-2013 at 01:19 PM.

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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    Oh, yeah--need to have Frank Dye's voyages from the UK to Iceland and Norway in a 16' dinghy!

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    Jagular Goes Everywhere: (mis)Adventures in a $300 Sailboat. Book release November 2014.

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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    The Cape Ann Museum [www.capeannmuseum.org/] has two early Atlantic crossing boats on display, 20' dory 'Centennial' in which Alfred Johnson crossed in 1876, and Great Republic, a Gloucester sloop boat in which Howard Blackburn made his second Atlantic crossing, 39 days to Portugal in 1901, the first in Great Western, another sloop boat, 62 days to England in 1899. Blackburn's boats are not in this list: http://www.microcruising.com/famoussmallboats.htm

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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    "Paddle to the Arctic" by Dan Starkell seems to be a lesser known one. A kayak trip across the top of Canada. He barely made it and the book is quite a good read.
    Starkell also paddled from Winnipeg to the Amazon, ("Paddle to the Amazon") but I haven't read that one.

    Then there are Hannes Lindemann's two trips across the Atlantic - one in a dugout canoe, the other in a Klepper kayak.

    And of course, there are Nathaniel Bishop's books: "Voyage of the Paper Canoe" and "Four Months in a Sneakbox" both excellent reads by a man well ahead of his time.

    Messing About in Boats has republished many small boat adventures from the late 19th and early 20th centuries over the years. A study of their archives would be rewarding.

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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    Speaking of kayak trips... here's one in very dangerous waters, Cape York, Australia and the eastern Indonesian archipeligo

    http://archipaddlo.blogspot.com.au/

    http://www.australiangeographic.com....expedition.htm

    I had the good fortune to meet Justin and Alaina in Flores, Indonesia.
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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    "The Boy, Me and the Cat" by Henry Plummer, sailing from New Bedford to Florida on a Cape Cod Catboat.
    Dick Newick's story about paddling through Europe's inland waterways: tough to find but a great read. May be somewhere on "Golden Oldies Multihulls" web site.
    Reinhard Zollitsch -anyone who hasn't heard of him should read all his great tales of solo paddling: he's an inspiration and a wonderful storyteller. Google Zollitsch Canoe Adventures.
    More recently, an interest in Dierking proas led me to grillabongquixotic on Wordpress: an adventure building and sailing a beach proa down the central american coast.

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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    I hear Shillshole to Suquamish and back can be pretty epic when the wind's out of the north.
    If this post did not meet all of your needs, please consult this thread for more options.

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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    Hard to beat the Adventures of Miss Cindy: http://turtleislands.net/tmc/default.html
    Or Desesparado: http://grillabongquixotic.wordpress.com/

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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    I'm reading this at the moment .http://www.olypen.com/cduff/Frames.html
    Scotland to Iceland by kayak.
    Try to work out what the marketing guy wants you to do then do precisely the opposite.

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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    "And of course, there are Nathaniel Bishop's books: "Voyage of the Paper Canoe" and "Four Months in a Sneakbox" both excellent reads by a man well ahead of his time."

    I second these.I am biased though as I am related by blood;-)

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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    Betty Carey's solo trip up the Inside Passage in 1937 in a dugout canoe, at the age of 22 (her, not the canoe, was much older), and then a repeat the other direction in 1963. I've seen the boat, it's ridiculously small :
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betty_Lowman_Carey
    Alex

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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    Some long Kayak journeys:

    Paul Caffyn (around New Zealand, the UK, Japan, Alaska, Australia, maybe a couple of others)

    Franz Romer across the Atlantic in 1928

    Ed Gillet California to Hawaii in 1987

    Hannes Lindemann a couple of times across the Atlantic

    Oskar Speck from Germany to Australia 1932 - September 1939 Not a good time to arrive, he was put in an internment camp for the duration of the war.

    Ok, I just found what I was looking for: a compilation of most of the biggest kayak journeys ever made:

    http://www.expeditionkayak.com/chron...-sea-kayaking/

    Ian

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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    "Alone at Sea" by Dr. Hannes Lindemann

    Lindemann did crossings by sail of the Cental Atlantic from the Canaries to the West indies in the 1950s.
    The first was in a version of a Liberian dugpout canoe which went reasonably well. The second was in a Klepper kayak stuffed with 500 lb. of survival supplies most of which were lost when he battled storms for 14 straight days. The trip lasted more than 70 days at a cost of about 50 lb. of body weight.

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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    Holy crap I have a lot of reading to do.

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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    I got involved with a Khartoum to Aswan trip by kayak in '82/'83 - report filed with the RGS.


    Think I still have a T Shirt.
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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    Thanks everyone, being added to the list are: Web Chiles, Verlen Kruger, Jill Fredston, Sam McKinney, Robin Cody, David Lewis, Eddy L Harris, Jonathan Raban, Frank Dye, Alfred Johnson, Howard Blackburn, Dan Starkell, Hannes Lindemann, Henry Plummer, Dick Newick, Reinhard Zollitsch, Miss Cindy, Betty Carey, Franz Romer, Paul Caffyn, Ed Gillet, Oskar Speck

    @Gerarddm: We have no hard and fast length cutoff. Call it boats that are small for the trip they undertook, or are otherwise unlikely.

    @Yeadon: You're right on, the exploration of why people do this is central to the exhibit. Certainly there are different cultural contexts in different time periods, but I also think there are common reasons why people are driven to this trips. Journeys of personal exploration, seems like. Part of the reason I thought of post in here is I know there are lots of folks who spend the winter building boats dreaming about long trips. What makes you want to go up the inside passage?

    @James McMullen: C'mon James, I know you're got a library of long trips, what are the standouts in your opinion?

    @Waterrat: You're telling me!

    Thanks folks, keep them coming! The list is getting long. I am most interested in the early journeys--what do we think were the seminal voyages, the ones who inspired others to take up recreational boating in small craft? Who inspires you, or what journeys?

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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    FYI -- "Miss Cindy" is the boat, a small catamaran. The skipper is Tony Bigras.

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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    How about "Three years in a 12 Foot Boat" (Stepen Ladd, in a wooden boat of his own design)? He and his wife have also been voyaging for months in Central and South America in their 21 foot Sea Pearl (which has only a little wood in it, sorry). And how about total amount of time spent in small boats? I think Matt Layden spent nearly years at a time living in ca. 14 foot boats of his own design, sailing the East coast, CT to FL/Carribean. Unfortunately for us, he is humble and evidently does not like to write about his experiences much. Yes, to Chris Grill's proa voyaging, especially because he is an exceptionally literate writer as well as an exceptional small-boaty adventurer. -- Wade

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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    Although his boat wasn't really "small" you should probably add Joshua Slocum and his boat Spray to your list just because he was the first to go around solo, probably for many of the same reasons that others would do small boat voyages later on.

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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    27,000 miles in a 12 footer: http://www.acrohc.com/


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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    The circumnavigation of Trekka:


  39. #39
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    Across the Pacific in a Benford Happy 14:


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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    One of my favorites is "Canoeing with the Cree", by Eric Severeid, who was a commentator for the CBS Evening News, with Walter Cronkite.

    Anyway, he and a buddy paddled a canoe from their home in Minnesota, all the way to Hudson Bay. Pretty amazing voyage for some kids.

    "In 1930 two novice paddlers--Eric Sevareid and Walter C. Port--launched a secondhand 18-foot canvas canoe into the Minnesota River at Fort Snelling for an ambitious summer-long journey from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay. Without benefit of radio, motor, or good maps, the teenagers made their way over 2,250 miles of rivers, lakes, and difficult portages. Nearly four months later, after shooting hundreds of sets of rapids and surviving exceedingly bad conditions and even worse advice, the ragged, hungry adventurers arrived in York Factory on Hudson Bay--with winter freeze-up on their heels. First published in 1935, Canoeing with the Cree is Sevareid's classic account of this youthful odyssey. The newspaper stories that Sevareid wrote on this trip launched his distinguished journalism career, which included more than a decade as a television correspondent and commentator on the CBS Evening News."


    Last edited by jalmberg; 01-04-2013 at 01:54 PM.
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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    "The Saga of Cimba" by Richard Maury......my fav....

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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    This is a really god read and deserves to be included.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Unl...f_Jack_de_Crow

    Also, This guys first major voyage makes him a good candidate.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenichi_Horie

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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    Capt. John Voss and Tilikum


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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Kurylko View Post
    Capt. John Voss and Tilikum

    [[/I]

    In August while in Victoria BC I had the chance to have a good look over both Tilicum and Trekka, I loved Trekka to bits. Not only for her size and design, but also as she was so evidently built on a budget by a young man unfazed by fashion or budget, hand built with many home made fittings, function before any other consideration, so achievable today if anyone were as determined as Guzzwell .

    Tilicum did not impress me to the same degree, I do concur that she did a remarkable voyage, and Voss's story is good reading but it did not grab me in the same way.

    I've seen Ashely Coulsons "G'Day 88" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashley_Coulston which in spite of the skippers dreadful criminal history was an interesting little boat. And was on the dock talking to John Riding aboard his 12 ft long Sjo Ag the day before he left to cross the Tasman to Australia, he disappeared without trace, but the trip from UK to NZ is worth inclusion.

    John Welsford
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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    Quote Originally Posted by Antique Boat Museum View Post

    Thanks folks, keep them coming! The list is getting long. I am most interested in the early journeys--what do we think were the seminal voyages, the ones who inspired others to take up recreational boating in small craft? Who inspires you, or what journeys?
    If you are looking for seminal and early, you need to look at Tom Day. Through his editing of Rudder, his trans Atlantic in Seabird (and first motorboat crossing in Detroit) and establishing the Bermuda Race and the CCA, he transformed small boat voyaging from stunt to something that prudent amateur seafarers could do. A spin thru Toy Adventurers Afloat Vol 1 Part 1 would be useful.

    Ben
    Ben Fuller
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    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  46. #46
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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    not sure if your after boat books or adventure books

    3 years in a 12ft boat, read that, great adventure, did not like the writing though.
    Other voyages, Greely expedition, marooned at the extreme top of Greenlands west coast and supply ship did not get through, they had to row the coast of Greenland to get back to civilization. No radios, no motors, no modern fabrics.

    Nansen. In my opinion the greatest artic explorer of all time. Yes people hear about Shackelton and Scott, but they forget about Nansen, a real man among men.

    Dr John Ray (or Raye) Read his biography, great book. Among other things he looked for the lost Franklin Expedition, he built a small sailboat, in Canada, sailed down the rivers to the artic ocean and the NW passage looking for Franklin, sailing unexplored territory of the NW passage in a small handbuilt boat. (no ship). Then going back to Hudson Bay, going to the NW corner, going overland (unexplored territory) and then finding out what had happened to Franklin. Fantastic book.

    Anotehr book,,, cant recall name. Russian sealers, left their ship for a short stroll and went looking on a small island in the artic, turned around and their ship had gone, crushed by ice, they survived for 7 years with just what they had on their back. Excellent book.


    I have to admit I am more impressed with the sailors of earlier times, that did things when they had no choice, those that choose to sail the world in a 12ft boat dont do much for me, they have the modern food, carbon fiber, desal units, ebirbs etc.... not fun for them it is true,, but I dont really think they compare

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    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    the unlikey voyage of Jack de Crow, I have that book. Great writing, I will second that.

  48. #48
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    330

    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    Patrick Ellam SOPRANINO.
    Humphrey Barton VIRTUE XXXV
    Commander R.D. Graham ROUGH PASSAGE
    M. Helen Graham THE ADVENTURE OF THE FAEROE ISLANDS

  49. #49
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    St. Mary's County, MD
    Posts
    873

    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    Don't overlook Nathanial Bishop. His book _Four Months in a Sneakbox_ is one of the classics of small craft cruising. That described his trip down the Mississippi in a 12 foot boat in the 1870s. He also documented his trip in a canoe down the east coast in _The Voyage of the Paper Canoe_. He was the inspiration for at least one or two other more modern adventurers who retraced his voyages.

    And look up Lewis R Freeman. He was involved in many river explorations in the early part of the last century, among others running the Grand Canyon as part of a government expedition. He also did some early long distance outboard motor cruises in small open boats.

    Reuben Gold Thwaites night also be a source of useful information for your exhibit. He was an early chronicler of journeys in frontier America, and I believe that he made his own trip down the Mississippi.

    Bob

  50. #50
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Huntington, NY
    Posts
    1,099

    Default Re: Long Journeys in Small Boats

    And you can't forget the most exciting small boat adventure story ever told: Arthur Ransome's, "We didn't mean to go to sea."

    I read that every year. Never get tired of it.
    -- John

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Check out my blog: http://www.unlikelyboatbuilder.com
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    "What people say you cannot do, you try and find you can." -- Thoreau

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