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Old 18-01-2017, 12:23   #1
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Outstanding Sailors Seamanship and Stunts

Howdy and Ahoy!

I am starting this thread topic to feature numerous stories about some of the most Outstanding Sailors, Seamanship and Stunts involving sailboats, power boats, or human powered boats. While I am starting the discussion (and will act as a curator of sorts) and I will add numerous examples and information as it develops over time, I encourage YOU to participate and contribute too. Please contribute to this thread with what you know and can find or provide (photos, data, links, anecdotes). I also encourage you to subscribe to this thread, because it will take some time to add the many examples of Outstanding Sailors, Seamanship, and Stunts.

NOTE! This topic will include males and females of all ages.
I earlier started another topic that was focused on female sailors only. Here is a link to that thread, which contains many outstanding female sailors:
Female Heroes of the Sea and Sailors

Focus on People and Boats
The focus is the people who have pushed the boundaries, set the records, taken the risks, and lived to tell about it. But, since we are talking about boaters, it will be important to include something about their boat too. Please provide as much detail as possible about their boat, with a photo too, including such facts as:

WHO they were. (Were they experienced or inexperienced when they started?)
WHEN they did it.
WHERE they did it.
WHAT they used. (what kind of boat)
WHY they tried it. (Were they attempting to set a record?)
WHAT you admire about their example.

This mix of people will include men, women, and teens. Some will be old, some young. Some began their voyages as highly experienced sailors or boaters, while others started with little experience.

Some used amazinging small or tiny vessels. Some used amazingly large vessels. Some were setting speed records, while others simply drifted or rowed.

Some did it alone, solo, single handing across an ocean. Others had a partner, or a team or crew.

Some were "the first" and set a world record. Others made no such record. Some were obviously conceived as publicity stunts.

Stunts are admissible in this thread, as they can prove what can be done, even if it is out of the ordinary in method. A stunt is not necessarily a good example to follow, but it can push the boundaries. And, it often happens that "stunts" set records and become goals for others to break later or the inspiration for many.

Some are well known, some are not well known, some may have slipped into obscurity as time has passed or new records set.

Some have become famous and well respected. Others were ridiculed for their goal, their boat, their lack of experience, or their choices. They were probably all considered "crazy fools" by many sailors for trying what they did or how they did. This topic can include the careful and the careless, along with the wise and the "crazy fools" too.

Some were or later became paragons of skill on boats and examples of great "seamanship," while others may have been simply lucky to survive and had few skills that would be admired. Adding anyone to this discussion does not mean they are all equals or examples to follow.

Something they ALL had in common was their dream and the courage to try, despite the risks.

I hope you will join me in adding something below about your favorites too.

Please provide more than just a name or a simple link. Photos are encouraged. Do some google searching before you post.

Please at least tell us what they did, what kind of boat they used, and why you admire them.
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Old 18-01-2017, 12:26   #2
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Al Grover Crossed Atlantic Ocean with Outboard Power Skiff

Al Grover

In 1985, Al Grover of Vero Beach crossed the Atlantic Ocean in this skiff, becoming the first person to ever cross the Atlantic in an outboard and setting a record in the Guinness Book of World records.

Read more about Al at
http://www.indianrivermag.com/favorites/AlGrover.pdf l
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Old 18-01-2017, 13:00   #3
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Re: Outstanding Sailors Seamanship and Stunts

ADDENDUM:

What makes them "Outstanding?"

Simply put, they each did something unusual, extraordinary, interesting, or amazing.

My use of the word "outstanding" does NOT mean they are the best, brightest, most successful, exemplary sailors, or models of behavior. They could be any or all of those things or none of them.
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Old 18-01-2017, 13:22   #4
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Re: Outstanding Sailors Seamanship and Stunts

Captain Cook. Three voyages conducted with utmost discipline and focus that he basically mapped most of coast of New Zealand, South Pacific, US Pacific coast, parts of Australia. Lost nearly no crew to scurvey - and didn't have a mutiny.

A proper naval officer, scientist and seems like a good man of the time.

British owed it's latter empire to cooks discoveries.
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Old 18-01-2017, 13:34   #5
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pirate Re: Outstanding Sailors Seamanship and Stunts

This guy.. luckly he did not think Oz worth the stop else they'd be speaking Portuguese..
Ferdinand Magellan (/məˈɡɛlən/[1] or /məˈdʒɛlən/;[2] Portuguese: Fernão de Magalhães, IPA:*[fɨɾˈnɐ̃w ðɨ mɐɣɐˈʎɐ̃jʃ]; Spanish: Fernando de Magallanes, IPA:*[ferˈnando ðe maɣaˈʎanes]; c. 1480 – 27 April 1521) was a Portuguese explorer who organised the Spanish expedition to the East Indies from 1519 to 1522, resulting in the first circumnavigation of the Earth, completed by Juan Sebastián Elcano.
Born into a Portuguese noble family in around 1480, Magellan became a skilled sailor and naval officer and was eventually selected by King Charles I of Spain to search for a westward route to the Maluku Islands (the "Spice Islands"). Commanding a fleet of five vessels, he headed south through the Atlantic Ocean to Patagonia, passing through the Strait of Magellan into a body of water he named the "peaceful sea" (the modern Pacific Ocean). Despite a series of storms and mutinies, the expedition reached the Spice Islands in 1521 and returned home via the Indian Ocean to complete the first circuit of the globe. Magellan did not complete the entire voyage, as he was killed during the Battle of Mactan in the Philippines in 1521.
Ferdinand Magellan, traveling west from Europe, in 1521, reached a region of Southeast Asia (the Malay Archipelago), which he had reached on previous voyages traveling east (from 1505 to 1511-1512). Magellan thereby achieved a nearly complete personal circumnavigation of the globe for the first time in history.[3][4]
The Magellanic penguin is named after him, as he was the first European to note it.[5] Magellan's navigational skills have also been acknowledged in the naming of objects associated with the stars, including the Magellanic Clouds, now known to be two nearby dwarf galaxies; the twin lunar craters of Magelhaens and Magelhaens A; and the Martian crater of Magelhaens.[6]
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Old 18-01-2017, 13:38   #6
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Re: Outstanding Sailors Seamanship and Stunts

Survivors of the whaleship Essex which was sunk by a whale sailed 4,600 miles starting out in three 25' whaleboats........with inadequate food and water. It took them about 90 days...........
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The ship sank 2,000 nautical miles (3,700 km) west of South America. After spending two days salvaging what supplies they could, the twenty sailors set out in the three small whaleboats with wholly inadequate supplies of food and fresh water. The closest known islands, the Marquesas, were more than 1,200 mi (1,900 km) to the west and Captain Pollard intended to make for them but the crew, led by Owen Chase, feared the islands may be inhabited by cannibals and voted to make for South America. Unable to sail against the Trade winds, the boats would need to sail south for 1,000 mi (1,600 km) before they could use the Westerlies to turn towards South America, which would still lie another 3,000 mi (4,800 km) to the east.

Food and water was rationed from the beginning, most of the food had been soaked in seawater and this was eaten first despite it increasing their thirst. It took around two weeks to consume the contaminated food and by this time the survivors were rinsing their mouths with seawater and drinking their own urine. Never designed for long voyages, all the whaleboats had been roughly repaired and leaks were a constant and serious problem. After losing a timber, the crew of one boat had to lean to one side to raise the other side out of the water, however another boat was able to draw close and a sailor nailed a piece of wood over the hole. Literally within hours of the crew beginning to die of thirst the boats landed on uninhabited Henderson Island, within the modern-day British territory of the Pitcairn Islands. Had they landed on Pitcairn, 104 miles (167 km) to the S/W, they would have received help: it was habitable and the survivors of the HMS Bounty still lived there. On Henderson Island they found a small freshwater spring and the men gorged on birds, eggs, crabs, and peppergrass. However, after one week, they had largely exhausted the island's food resources and on December 26 concluded that they would starve if they remained much longer. Three men, William Wright, Seth Weeks and Thomas Chapple, who were the only white members of the crew who were not natives of Nantucket, opted to stay behind on Henderson. The remaining Essex crewmen resumed the journey on New Year's Eve hoping to reach Easter Island. Within three days they had exhausted the crabs and birds they had collected for the voyage, leaving only a small reserve of bread, salvaged from the Essex. On January 4, they estimated that they had drifted too far south of Easter Island to reach it and decided to make for Más a Tierra island, 1,818 miles (2,926 km) to the east and 419 miles (674 km) west of South America. One by one, the men began to die.

On January 10, Matthew Joy died and on the following day the boat carrying Owen Chase, Richard Peterson, Isaac Cole, Benjamin Lawrence and Thomas Nickerson became separated from the others during a squall. Peterson died on January 18 and like Joy, was sewn in his clothes and buried at sea, as was the custom. On February 8, Isaac Cole died but with food running out they kept his body and, after a discussion, the men resorted to cannibalism in order to survive. By February 15 the three remaining men had again run out of food and on February 18, were spotted and rescued by the British whaleship Indian 90 days after the sinking of the Essex.

Obed Hendricks's boat exhausted their food supplies on January 14 with Pollard's men exhausting theirs on January 21. Lawson Thomas had died on January 20 and it was now decided they had no choice but to keep the body for food. Charles Shorter died on January 23, Isaiah Shepard on January 27 and Samuel Reed on January 28. Later that day the two boats separated with the one carrying Obed Hendricks, Joseph West and William Bond never to be seen again.

By February 1 the food had run out and the situation in Captain Pollard's boat became quite critical. The men drew lots to determine who would be sacrificed for the survival of the crew. A young man named Owen Coffin, Captain Pollard's 17 year old cousin, whom he had sworn to protect, drew the black spot. Pollard allegedly offered to protect his cousin but Coffin is said to have replied "No, I like my lot as well as any other." Lots were drawn again to determine who would be Coffin's executioner. His young friend, Charles Ramsdell, drew the black spot. Ramsdell shot Coffin, and his remains were consumed by Pollard, Barzillai Ray, and Charles Ramsdell. On February 11, Ray also died. For the remainder of their journey, Pollard and Ramsdell survived by gnawing on the bones of Coffin and Ray. They were rescued when almost within sight of the South American coast by the Nantucket whaleship Dauphin on February 23, 95 days after the Essex sank. Both men by that time were so completely dissociative that they did not even notice the Dauphin alongside them and became terrified by seeing their rescuers.

Pollard, Chase, Ramsdell, Lawrence, and Nickerson were reunited in the port of Valparaíso, where they informed officials there of their three shipmates stranded on Henderson Island. A ship destined on a trans-Pacific passage was ordered to look for the men on Henderson. Although close to death, the three men were eventually rescued.

By the time the last of the eight survivors were rescued on April 5, 1821 the corpses of seven fellow sailors had been consumed. All eight returned to the sea within months of their return to Nantucket. Herman Melville later speculated that all would have survived had they followed Captain Pollard's recommendation and sailed west.

Captain George Pollard, Jr. returned to sea in early 1822 to captain the whaleship Two Brothers. After it was wrecked on the French Frigate Shoals during a storm off the coast of Hawaii on his first voyage, he joined a merchant vessel which was in turn also wrecked off the Sandwich Islands (Hawaiian Islands) shortly after. Now considered a "Jonah" (unlucky), no ship owner would trust him to sail on a ship again and he was forced to retire. He became Nantucket's night watchman. Every November 20, he would lock himself in his room and fast in memory of the men of the Essex.

First Mate Owen Chase returned to Nantucket on June 11, 1821 to find he had a 14-month-old daughter he had never seen. Four months later he had completed an account of the disaster, the Narrative of the Most Extraordinary and Distressing Shipwreck of the Whale-Ship Essex; this was used by Herman Melville as one of the inspirations for his novel Moby-****. In December he sailed as first mate on the whaler Florida and then as captain of the Winslow for each subsequent voyage until he had his own whaler, the Charles Carrol, built. Chase remained at sea for 19 years, only returning home for short periods every two or three years, each time fathering a child. His first two wives died while he was at sea. He divorced his third wife when he found she had given birth 16 months after he had last seen her, although he subsequently brought up the child as his own. In September 1840, two months after the divorce was finalised, he married for the fourth and final time and retired from whaling. Memories of the harrowing ordeal haunted Chase. He suffered terrible headaches and nightmares. Later in his life, Chase began hiding food in the attic of his Nantucket house on Orange Street and was eventually institutionalized.

The cabin boy, Thomas Nickerson, became a captain in the Merchant Service and later wrote another account of the sinking titled The Loss of the Ship "Essex" Sunk by a Whale and the Ordeal of the Crew in Open Boats which was not published until 1984 by the Nantucket Historical Association. Nickerson wrote his account late in his life and it was lost until 1960. It was not until 1980, when it came into the hands of Nantucket whaling expert Edouard Stackpole, that its significance was realized.

Charles Ramsdell captained the whaleship General Jackson before his retirement. Benjamin Lawrence went on to captain the whaleships Dromo and Huron before retiring to become a farmer. William Wright returned to whaling and drowned during a hurricane in the West Indies. Seth Weeks retired to Cape Cod. Thomas Chapple is believed to have become a missionary preacher.

Most of the survivors at some time or another wrote accounts of the disaster, some of which differ considerably on details regarding the behavior of various survivors.
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Old 18-01-2017, 14:36   #7
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Re: Al Grover Crossed Atlantic Ocean with Outboard Power Skiff

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steady Hand View Post
Al Grover

In 1985, Al Grover of Vero Beach crossed the Atlantic Ocean in this skiff, becoming the first person to ever cross the Atlantic in an outboard and setting a record in the Guinness Book of World records.

Read more about Al at
http://www.indianrivermag.com/favorites/AlGrover.pdf l
Depends on your definition of of outboard but Irishmman Enda O'Coineen crossed the Atlantic in 1977 in an open rib.

Rib Test Special MBY Aug 13

I met him once for breakfast in the Blue Bird cafe in Lee on Solent. I seem to remember a dash to Halfords because he needed a battery for his boat on a Sunday morning.

Interestingly he is in the Verdee Cup this winter Enda O’COINEEN - Vendée Globe 2016-2017


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Old 18-01-2017, 16:29   #8
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Re: Outstanding Sailors Seamanship and Stunts

Very good examples contributed so far!

Thank YOU ALL for adding to the mix, with good content that I am sure will stimulate and inform some CF Members and visitors.

I think this thread will be fun to read as more and more examples are brought up. I know of several I have in mind to add, but I do hope everyone will feel free to add what they know and like or find fitting.

Please NOTE!
The examples or people mentioned do not have to be circumnavigators or someone who has crossed an ocean. That is not a requirement.
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Old 18-01-2017, 16:31   #9
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Re: Outstanding Sailors Seamanship and Stunts

Serge Tests of Australia circumnavigated in a 12- foot aluminum boat in 1984 to 1987. This was a record for the smallest boat to circumnavigate. His book is 500 Days, Around the World on a 12 foot Yacht.
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Old 18-01-2017, 18:01   #10
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Re: Outstanding Sailors Seamanship and Stunts

Too late to edit:. Serge Testa is the name. Spell check has struck again!
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Old 18-01-2017, 18:02   #11
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Re: Outstanding Sailors Seamanship and Stunts

One of my favorites is Hugo Vihlen who's quote "I don't know why they named them swells, there is nothing swell about them. They should have named them awfuls." pretty well says it all... Of course this was after single handing from St Johns, Newfoundland to Falmouth, England in a 5'-4" sailboat named Fathers Day.

The voyage took 115 days in 1993 but it was his second Atlantic crossing, the first being from Casablanca to Florida in a somewhat larger 5'-11" boat named April Fool in 1968.



I'm surprised he could get his bollocks in that little thing.
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Old 18-01-2017, 18:18   #12
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Re: Outstanding Sailors Seamanship and Stunts

To me the guy who fixed his broken 80ft tall carbon mast baking the repair with 12Volt bulbs and then he actually re-masted the boat in ... where? ... Kergeulen Islands ???

And he kept on going as if nothing.

That's just one.

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Old 18-01-2017, 20:06   #13
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Re: Outstanding Sailors Seamanship and Stunts

Well, there's Alan Nebauer, skipper of Newcastle Australia in the '94-'95 BOC race. On the leg to Capetown he beat back some 60 miles to windward to rescue Josh Hall, whose racer was sinking out from under him. He was standing in ankle deep water on the cabin top when Alan hove alongside. Then on the leg from NZ around the Horn, he was dismasted some 600 miles west of that cape. He built an A-frame mast from his spinnaker poles and rounded the Horn and made it to the Falklands where he acquired a second hand, not-fitting mast and continued racing on to Uruguay. Hit a ufO, busted his rudder off, rigged the back up and made it in time to make the next leg's start. What an effort!

These two efforts earned him an unprecedented two "outstanding seamanship" awards from the race organizers... all reported in his book "Against All Odds".

Alan is a religious fellow, and gave much credit to heavenly help. I'm not religious, and give credit to an extremely good sailor and seaman who just would not give up. (And not a small bit of credit goes to his wife Cindy, who was running their rather skimpily funded "program" back home and organized the mast acquisition and delivery to the Falklands among her other duties. Maybe not outstanding seamanship, but again, what an effort).

It's a good read, that book, if you can find a copy.

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Old 18-01-2017, 21:41   #14
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Re: Outstanding Sailors Seamanship and Stunts

In the context of this thread, it's hard for me not to think of Shackleton. Both in his efforts when stuck in the ice, & the voyage from Antartica to the islands to find aid to get his crew off of Antartica. Most any of his adventures would qualify him in my book, let alone the string of them.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernest_Shackleton
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Old 18-01-2017, 22:29   #15
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Re: Outstanding Sailors Seamanship and Stunts

Rory McDougall surely must get a mention here,he circumnavigated on a 21 ft Wharram cat.
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