A Speck on the Sea : Epic Voyages in the Most Improbable Vessels

 
9780071413060: A Speck on the Sea : Epic Voyages in the Most Improbable Vessels

Throughout history, the bold, the desperate, and the foolhardy have dared the wide oceans in the tiniest of boats

The unique and wonderful A Speck on the Sea looks back half a millennium to chronicle the greatest ocean voyages attempted in the littlest boats--rowboats, canoes, tiny sailboats, even a pair of wooden floats strapped to one adventurer's feet.

Driven by desperation, a spirit of adventure, or irrepressible exuberance, these amazing feats include:

  • Diego Mendez's voyage to rescue Columbus
  • William Okeley's 1639 escape from slavery in a folding rowboat
  • Hugo Vihlen's 1968 ocean crossing in the six-foot sailboat April Fool
  • Ernest Shackleton and William Bligh's death-cheating journeys
  • The tragic story of Peter Bird's attempt to row across the Pacific
  • And many more

Never have sailors dared the sea in frailer boats. This fascinating history will appeal to sailors and landlubbers alike.

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From the Back Cover:

In A Speck on the Sea, William Longyard reaches back through five centuries to gather an eclectic collection of great sea adventures in which the smallest, unlikeliest craft imaginable--and the daring individuals aboard them--were pushed to their extremes to complete extraordinary voyages against great odds.

From canoes and small sailboats to jury-rigged vessels of every description, and even a pair of strap-to-your-feet pontoons, the watercraft in these true stories make nearly as motley a collection as the mariners who piloted them. Meet the five escaped slaves who crossed the Mediterranean in a homemade folding rowboat; the lifeguard who paddled thirty miles through a killer storm in an inflatable rubber suit; and the mysterious two-man crew who crossed the Atlantic, east to west, in a converted lifeboat, bailing all the while.

Whether driven by desperation, a spirit of adventure, or a desire for fame and fortune, all the risktakers whose stories are told here displayed uncommon courage, superior nautical skills, and remarkable poise under extreme and perilous conditions. Among the feats of seamanship you'll discover are:

  • Half-Safe, the only jeep ever to sail around the world
  • Ed Gillet's kite-powered transpacific kayak voyage
  • Gladys Gradely's 1902 quest to become the first woman to solo the Atlantic
  • Ben Lecomte's swim across an ocean for love
  • Hugo Vihlen's 1968 ocean crossing in a 6-foot sailboat
  • Peter Bird's tragic attempt to row across the Pacific
  • And many more

You'll also meet the man who transformed small-boat sailing from an occupation into a sport, the showman whose unparalleled adventures led to the founding of the first theme parks, and dozens of intrepid seafarers whose extraordinary accomplishments have expanded not only our world but also our understanding of what small boats can do.

A Speck on the Sea offers compelling and rewarding reading for mariners and landlubbers alike.

More than seventy accounts of big adventures in small boats

"Bill Longyard has put together a gripping compendium of noteworthy small-boat voyages made over the centuries. This is destined to remain the definitive study of this topic for years. A great read!"--John Harland, maritime historian and author of Seamanship in the Age of Sail

"Whether you dream of big voyages in your tiny boat or hug the shore for comfort, you won't be able to put this book down. Seagoing heroes and scalawags come alive with rich detail in Longyard's volume of salty tales."--Judy Blumhorst, Commordore Emeritus, Northern California Association of West Wight Potter Owners and webmaster, www.TrailerSailor.com

About the Author:

William H. Longyard has spent twenty-five years paddling, rowing, and sailing small boats of all kinds. He owns a small flotilla of kayaks and once paddled 600 miles from Ottawa, Canada, to New York City in his own homemade kayak. He has been a high-school English teacher for fifteen years and has published several books and written numerous articles for boating journals.

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