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.


Robert Manry remembered

Robert Manry Tinkerbelle Atlantic crossing log

I’ve just learned about the Robert Manry Project, which exists to remember the life of sailor and journalist Robert Manry, who in 1965 sailed solo across the Atlantic in the 13ft 6in clinker-built dinghy-with-a-lid Tinkerbelle, in 78 days.

Manry went on to write a popular book, Tinkerbelle, about his demanding and sometimes terrifying trip. He was lucky to survive.

Through its website, the Project aims to collect reminiscences, and to produce a film – there’s a trailer on the website.

Perhaps the best bit, though, is Manry’s log of the voyage – a fascinating document, particularly if like me you have previously read his book.