Voyages of the Spray | The Spray | Sailing the Spray around the world | Lines & Sail Plans

The Spray is as central to the story of a man conquering a frontier as is Kon-Tiki, The Spirit of St. Louis or Apollo 11. Upon completing the Spray, Captain Slocum settled on a $1.00 tin clock for navigation, fitted her with a New Hampshire spruce mast, and launched the 12.7 ton sloop for a try on Buzzard’s Bay. Satisfied that “she sat on the water like a swan," Captain Slocum set out on his historic voyage on April 24, 1895, sailing up the eastern coast of North America, then out to sea and across the Atlantic.

Leaving a safe berth at Gibraltar in late summer, pirates in the Mediterranean forced a revised course back across the ocean. The Spray ported at Rio de Janeiro on November 5, 1895, and he sailed the coast of South America through that fall and the early winter of 1896, bound for Tierra Del Fuego at the 53rd Parallel and nearly the bottom of the world. 

Passage through the Straits of Magellan would be rife with challenges. Storms shredded his sails, “savages” were dissuaded from boarding only by gunshots and a deck littered with carpet tacks, and the granite islands were more bleak and isolating that solo-sailing. It would take three months and two tries, finally sailing free from Cape Horn on April 13, 1896.

Once in the Pacific, the Captain sailed by the sun, the Southern Cross, the Trade Winds, and intuition. Captain Slocum and the Spray, his fame preceding him, would enjoy two years of hospitality in ports throughout the South Pacific and Indian Ocean, finding long berths for both the Captain and his sloop in Australia and South Africa.

On May 8, 1898, Captain Slocum crossed his outbound track in the Atlantic, off the northern coast of Brazil, and quietly marked the circumnavigation in his log book.