Voyages of the SprayThe SpraySailing the Spray around the worldLines & Sail Plans

 

“Will she pay?” Slocum was asked, time and again by skeptics. Would rebuilding her by his own hands restore him, as well? Would she sail true with her helm entrusted to a lash, and stay upright through hurricane, gale and williwaw? Would she be a vessel of refuge, adventure and, finally, atonement?

At the close of the 19th century and the time of Captain Slocum’s solo-circumnavigation, industry and machinery had changed the world. Yet Joshua Slocum, a rugged individualist, refused to pull down his sails.

The Odyssey and Moby Dick have more in common with Captain Slocum’s story than sea adventuring -- laboring to rebuild the Spray and use her to seek refuge on his own sea odyssey, Slocum’s crew of one insured that, like Odysseus and Ahab, his only adversary be himself.

The 1887 wreck of his last command, the Aquidneck, cost him his livelihood and the companionship of his second wife.  The Captain occupied himself with writing and self-publishing Voyage of the Liberdade, the tale of returning his family in the salvaged vessel after shipwreck in Brazil. His book made little profit even after a positive review. Then, another old captain, Eben Pierce, offered a rotting sloop at rest in his New Bedford field. A new odyssey began…