Australians find photos of Alan Villiers ship Joseph Conrad in Australia

The crew of the Joseph Conrad

The Australian National Maritime Museum has published a series of photos of Alan Villiers’ ship Joseph Conrad and it’s on Flickr.

Legendary writer, photographer and sailor Villiers bought the old square rigger, Georg Stage just as the training ship was about to be scrapped, renamed her the Joseph Conrad and set out from Ipswich on a circumnavigation in October 1934. The crew were mostly boys rather than men, as the photo above shows.

The ship crossed the Atlantic Ocean to New York City, then turned south to Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, and across the Indian Ocean and through the East Indies.

After stopping at Sydney, New Zealand and Tahiti, Joseph Conrad rounded Cape Horn and returned to New York on 16 October 1936, having traveled a total of some 57,000 miles.

Villiers wrote three books about the trip: Cruise of the ‘Conrad’, Stormalong and Joey Goes to Sea.

For more on the Joseph Conrad, click here, and for more on Villiers click here.

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Gavin Millar completes 1000 nautical miles of his sailing canoe circumnavigation – but runs out of time

Gavin Millar leaves the Isle of May

‘Canoesailor’ Gavin Millar called a temporary halt to his sailing canoe circumnavigation of Great Britain last week.

After two and a half months of sailing his sabbatical was coming to an end, but he still reached Oban (he started from the Solent) and managed to clock up 1000 nautical miles in his Solway Dory sailing canoe. This seems to me to be a great achievement especially during this summer. He plans to return to the job next year, so let’s hope the weather is kinder next summer than it has been this year.

In his weblog Gavin reports that he would have liked to have sailed and paddled further, but given the conditions this summer he was happy to have made it to the West Coast of Scotland.

These two paragraphs seem to me to be particularly telling:

‘The physical and mental strains of sailing a very small boat alone on the North Sea in strong winds and large waves meant that there were times when I was close to giving up, and I confess there were times when I was very scared, but I’m glad I persisted with the voyage. I would not like to have missed many of the experiences of the last two and a half months.

‘I’ve seen much of Britain’s amazing coastline from a special “upclose” perspective usually only experienced by sea kayakers and a few intrepid dinghy sailors. I have many great memories, not the least of which are of the people I’ve met along the way and of the huge amount of support and generosity I’ve benefited from. So, huge thanks to all those who’ve been so kind and helpful.’

Characteristically modest, Gavin also says he hopes he will inspire someone with more time and courage to sail all the way round, adding that he feels he has made a passable attempt at following in the tradition of the Canoe Boys and John McGregor.

Well yes – of course he has!

I gather Gavin’s site will have more photos and more weblog entries from his voyage over time, and don’t forget that one of his aims in making the voyage is to raise funds for the hospitality industry benevolent organisation Hospitality Action. The Canoesailor website includes a link for making donations, and Gavin’s employers have kindly pledged to match every pound donated with a pound of their own to a maximum of £10,000.

Gavin and Stacey

I’m very impressed by ‘Canoesailor’ Gavin Millar’s positively Victorian project of circumnavigating most of Great Britain in a sailing canoe made for him by Solway Dory.

It’s bonkers of course and I don’t advise trying it at home, but it is well worked out and it’s classic slow sailing – and it’s for charity.

He’s got a website that includes a weblog and a  SPOT technology feature that allows web surfers to follow his position online.

Last night he was in Rye Harbour, and I think he’ll likely be stuck there for a day or two… But why not check his position on Sunday?