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WINDJAMMING ROUND THE WORLD
Lydia Edes
July 04, 1955
Her foreyards squared like the clippers of old, the brigantine 'Yankee' recently returned to Gloucester, Mass. from an 18-month trip around the globe. On board were 21 amateur sailors—17 boys, 4 girls—picked from a long waiting list by Skipper Irving Johnson. Like most of the crew on 'Yankee's' world cruise—her sixth since 1932—Lydia Edes (left) of Plymouth, Mass. kept a diary of the voyage from which SI has selected the excerpts below
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July 04, 1955

Windjamming Round The World

Her foreyards squared like the clippers of old, the brigantine 'Yankee' recently returned to Gloucester, Mass. from an 18-month trip around the globe. On board were 21 amateur sailors—17 boys, 4 girls—picked from a long waiting list by Skipper Irving Johnson. Like most of the crew on 'Yankee's' world cruise—her sixth since 1932—Lydia Edes (left) of Plymouth, Mass. kept a diary of the voyage from which SI has selected the excerpts below

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At sea off East Africa, Dec. 12: After a long, slow trip across the Indian Ocean which was comparable to crossing the USA at the remarkable speed of five miles per hour, we began to approach the shores of Africa. Early on the morning of Dec. 9, the lights of Mombasa were sighted. It was the longest port-to-port passage the Yankee had ever made—26 days, and it had been 39 days since we left Bali.

The next day Jack Hendrickson, our star hunter, Dodd, John McDaniel and Brad Bloomer left with an Indian guide for a big-game hunting expedition. The more sedentary members of the crew left the Yankee and piled into a large Diesel-powered bus for a sightseeing ride.

After a two-hour trip over the parched coastal plain, we came into the bush area. Tall green grass, rolling hills, occasional streams cutting through and forming a muddy water hole, thorny bushes spaced apart so as not to appear impenetrable but only uncomfortable, and many more trees with great thick, pitted gray trunks supporting a small number of branches with dark green leaves. The bright red earth added beauty to the general scene. Soon antelope of various sorts appeared among the bushes, and ostriches strutted awkwardly, their plumed tails bobbing.

Against the sun, way over to our left, someone finally made out the rounded top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, and it really seemed as though we were in Africa then. Giraffes, way off in the distance, made a most extraordinary sight, their nubby little heads poking way up above the trees.

At sea aboard the 'Yankee' between Capetown and St. Helena, Feb. 5, 1955: During the first days out of Capetown, a damp cold settled down over the ship. The woolies came out again, and we bundled into our bunks when not on watch. We were so intent on keeping warm that even the sight of a huge whale not more than a hundred yards from the ship brought only a few hardy souls up on deck to watch him jump almost completely out of the water and sound, going straight down. We picked up the southeast tradewinds by Feb. 4, however, and settled into the pleasant routine of a sea passage. Watches passed quickly with lots of work to do, and sleeping, letters and handiwork took up the rest of the time. One lone albatross followed the ship as we headed north for St. Helena.

St. Helena: As we approached the dark, forbidding cliffs, it looked, indeed, like a prison. What a place to be stuck!

We dropped our anchor in the open road-stead opposite the town and waited for some of the islanders to come take us to shore. They brought us into a tiny landing, through huge combers that only these islanders can handle safely.

Inland away from the barren coastline, the island was totally different. Bright hibiscus and bougainvillaea colored the countryside, and the small houses tucked in among the occasional groves of Norfolk Pines completed a pastoral scene. The narrow, well-paved road took us close to a shady path where we walked a short distance to the floor of Geranium Valley. Here the white, flat, nameless tomb of Napoleon lies adjacent to the spring that he used to visit during his exile. Approximately 12 x 8 feet and raised only about six inches from the ground, its white surface is entirely blank because the reigning governor of the island during Napoleon's exile refused to recognize his former power, belittled him by calling him "Mr. Bona parte." Napoleon, whose body was returned to Paris in 1840, demanded that his first name be used, and as a result his first monument bears no identification.

At sea aboard the 'Yankee,' 150 miles southeast of Barbados Island, B.W.I., March 15, 1955: Barbados is just over the bowsprit, and we expect to make our first landfall in over three weeks early in the morning. The South Atlantic is behind us, and the approaches to the Caribbean, though gray and squally, are giving us some good winds and fine sailing. It is a fitting climax to six weeks of wonderful sailing from Capetown to the West Indies—a distance of some 5,500 miles as the Yankee has traveled.

St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, March 28: During these last weeks we have been winding our way through the narrow channels and passages of the Virgin Islands, and after waving a greeting to Atlantis, the work ship of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, we entered the main harbor of St. Thomas-Charlotte Amalie. This group of islands seemed greener than the rest, and a later tour of the island revealed that the surrounding waters are cluttered with many irregularly shaped islets. Perfect gunkholing territory.

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