Joshua Slocum (February 20, 1844 - 1909?) was a Canadian seaman and adventurer and the first man to sail single handed around the world.
Born in Wilmot , Nova Scotia, he ran away from home at the age of twelve and earned a living as a cabin boy among the fishermen of the Bay of Fundy. At sixteen he shipped "before the mast", rising to his first command nine years later.
Slocum spent most of his life at sea. When shipwrecked on his way to Montevideo in 1887, he sold the wreckage, paid off his crew and built the Liberdale, a 35-foot junk-rigged boat, in which he and his family sailed home to Washington, DC. In 1894 he published Voyage of the Liberdale describing this adventure.
On April 24, 1895, in a rebuilt 36′ 9″ (11.2 metre) yawl-rigged fishing boat named Spray, he set sail from Boston, Massachusetts. More than three years later, he returned to Newport, Rhode Island on June 27, 1898 having circumnavigated the world, a distance of 46,000 miles (74,000 km). In 1899 he wrote his classic, Sailing Alone Around the World , describing this voyage.
This book is a classic adventure story of the Age of Sail; Arthur Ransome said of it that "boys who do not like this book ought to be drowned at once."
In November 1909 he set sail for the Orinoco River in Spray and disappeared. It was assumed he was run down by a steamer or struck by a whale, the Spray being too sound a craft and Slocum too experienced a mariner for any other cause to be considered likely, and in 1924 he was declared legally dead.
A ferry named for him served the two Digby Neck runs between 1973 and 2004; http://www.newscotland1398.net/digbyco/slocumjmem.html it was the ferry in the film version of Dolores Claiborne.
An autonomous underwater vehicle, or AUV, designed by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, was named after his ship SPRAY. It became the first AUV to cross the Gulf Stream  http://www.whoi.edu/media/2004_Spray_Release.html
Project Gutenberg e-text of Sailing Alone Around the World http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/gutbook/lookup?num=6317
HTML e-text of Sailing Alone Around the World http://www.arthur-ransome.org/ar/literary/slocum2.htm with illustrations
Last updated: 02-07-2005 02:58:17
Last updated: 05-03-2005 17:50:55