Category Archives: History

Robert Manry and his extraordinary tale of small boat-big ocean survival

Robert Manry’s amazing West-East Atlantic crossing in a heavily overloaded 13ft 6in boat and his subsequent fame was now so long ago, I feel pretty sure even most sailing types have probably forgotten about his remarkable achievement.

So hats off to Steve Wystrach and colleagues for his efforts to produce a crowd-funded film designed to remind the world and to commemorate the event.

Manry was a sub-editor in his working life, so looking at the project website I was tickled to be reminded that the lone sailor had taken a copy of Strunk’s The Elements of Style with him, presumably to keep him on the straight and narrow as he wrote his log. Or was it to keep him company?

I read and was fascinated by Manry’s book a couple of decades ago, after finding a second hand copy in a shop somewhere. If you’re inspired to read it there are various e-book editions available via the Robert Manry Project site.

My thanks to John Simpson for reminding me about this story.

Stunning videos of Portuguese Barco Rabelo being sailed and built

Rabelos are a traditional Portuguese cargo boat developed for transporting people and goods such as port wine along the Douro River to Porto.

The Wikipedia tells me that port wine companies continue to maintain a fleet of rabelos and race them each year on St John’s Day, June 24. It must be quite a sight.

My thanks to Dave Rowlands for spotting this one!

The Dutch are coming…

The Medway folks are celebrating the Battle of the Medway with various events climaxing in fireworks at Upnor Castle on the 17th June.

It looks great if you can do it on foot, though my plan to sail there to watch the fireworks has been shot away, as it seems great flotillas of Dutch yachties have booked all the nearby berths that can be found! Duh!

Over that weekend and the one before there’s quite a lot going on besides the fireworks, including living history events at Upnor Castle, Dutch and British warships, a a fun fair, food and drink stalls and a river pageant sail past the Dockyard and Upnor Castle. There’s also live music, walkabout entertainments and clog dancing performances will run throughout the evening. Check the leaflet for details!