Going the Distance

Small-boat voyaging is a storied pastime.

Sailing Adventures
Ikuo Kashima sailed from Genoa, Italy, to New York in the 19-foot plywood sloop Koraasa.Yachting Magazine

On November 30, 2015, Victor Mooney completed a 5,000-mile transatlantic row from an island off the coast of Africa to the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City. On that day, Mooney joined a growing list of adventurers who have made long-range, solo trips in small craft.

Sailing Adventures
Sharon Sites Adams aboard the 25-foot Sea Sharp, which she single-handed to Hawaii.Yachting Magazine

In fact, solo voyages were so popular in the 1960s that Yachting's February 1966 issue highlighted several adventurers who either were making or had recently completed long-distance passages. The article was called "The Single-Handed Mania." One noteworthy voyager was 16-year-old Robin Lee Graham, who sailed from California to Hawaii with just his cat for company.

Sailing Adventures
Graham sailed from California to Hawaii in the L-24 Dove.Yachting Magazine

John Riding made an east-west transatlantic crossing in a 12-footer. Riding’s only means of calculating his position? A $6 watch and an Air Almanac that expired halfway through his trip. “Immediately you are at sea, all fear is gone,” Riding said at the time. “You accept the situation you have put yourself in to such an extent that if the vessel sank underneath you, you’d go down not with fear, but with a curse.”

Sailing Adventures
John Riding blew his foghorn below the water to scare off trailing sharks.Yachting Magazine

They are loners who prefer to be on their own and don't want to cause trouble for others; this seems to be a definite part of the psychology. – "The single-handed mania,” Yachting, February 1966

Sailing Adventure
Robin Lee Graham became the youngest person, 16, to complete a solo circumnavigation.Yachting Magazine