Sculling across the Atlantic. Of course…

Breton godille

Passionate about sculling, Hervé Le Merrer plans to power himself by sculling alone from Cape Verde to Martinique during 2018.

Fellow members of his yacht club at Trébeurden on the Côtes d’Armor are taking the whole thing seriously, as is the town, which has provided Le Merrer with premises in which to work on his project. I only hope he has fun and doesn’t kill himself…

Ann Davison’s 23ft Atlantic crossing yacht is being restored

Ann Davison’s little double-ended sailing yacht Felicity Ann is being restored at Port Hadlock, Washington.

It’s great news, and some of the webloggers have rightly picked up the story, including Bill Serjeant (he also wrote an earlier post), and this link (which doesn’t seem to be working right now).

Davison was quite a character: a woman who became a pilot in the 1930s at a time when few women flew, together with her husband she attempted to sail to the USA with a half-fitted out and overly-large boat, was shipwrecked off Portland Bill and lost her first husband to the sea, wrote a successful book about the affair (which I’ve read), and then made a second trip in the tiny four-tonner Felicity Ann. That trip, too, became a book that went on to sell well, (and which I mean to read some day).

You might say that by this point she had become a professional adventurer; she went on to write several books about further adventures, and one about her earlier life with her first husband.

The Wikipedia has some words about Davison here and The Smithsonian has a section from her 1952 boat about the Felicity Ann trip online. There’s also an interesting critique here about her voyaging, in which you can almost hear the writer’s brain separating in two parts as he struggles with the contradictions of Davison the gutsy optimist, indomitable spirit and highly trained aviator, and Davison the not-terribly competent sailor. (I’d argue that contradictions are normal for humans, but there it is.)

Anyway, let’s wish great good luck to the idealistic team restoring Ann Davison’s lovely little boat originally made by Mashford Brothers of Creymll in Cornwall, and now close to Washington. Here and here are two links describing their project.

Pathé newsreels: the London Boat Show of 1967, and Blyth and Ridgway row the Atlantic

Boat Show London 1967

Two hugely nostalgic Pathé newsreels caught my eye today – at least, they are for me. Lots of other folks might think they’re interesting historical documents!

The first is about the London Boat Show of 1967 and the then-fashionable hobby of sailing dinghies, which were often home-built. I have a hazy memory of my father attending the show about that time, and it wasn’t long before I was up to my armpits in ply and goop building our own Mirror paid for on the then-new hire purchase system.

The second celebrates Chay Blyth and John Ridgway arriving in Ireland in 1966 after rowing the Atlantic.

Enthusiasm for rowing oceans in adapted dories does not seem to have gone away in the intervening decades – but where did all the sailors of little dinghies go?