Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sailing away

I’ve jut finished reading Tania Aebi’s story of her 1985-1987 circumnavigation around the world on her 26 foot sloop, Varuna. The book’s called Maiden Voyage, and I couldn’t put it down. Fearing for his daughter’s teenage behaviour, Aebi’s father pretty much plops her in the boat at 18 years of age and shoves her off, hoping the experience will make a better person of her. It does, and after nearly two-and-half-years, she completes her voyage, learning celestial navigation along the way, how to raise a cat at sea, and the vagaries of a troublesome diesel.

Eight years earlier, in mid-1978, Barbara Cameron – my best friend and also a keen yachtie – and I sat in our high school history class and wrote out the list of equipment we’d need to do exactly the same trip, and to be the first women to sail non-stop around the world. Sadly, but greatly, the Kiwi Naomi James beat us to it, later that same year.

Aebi falls in love along the way, marrying her Olivier upon her return to New York. They adored each other.

I did a Google on her to find out what she’s up to now. Still sailing, she’s currently on a Pacific Ocean voyage with her two sons, 13 and 16 years old. But sadly it seems the love affair ended some time ago rather acrimoniously. Still, while love may end, thankfully the quest for adventure stays strong, and now she’s sharing that with her family. Her current trip log makes for good reading... and itchy feet.


Capt'n "O" Dark 30 & Super Boo said...

Cast off lines, left 15 degrees rudder, all ahead slow... hoist the main, set the chute, kill the diesel... take the helm, steer south by southwest.

count me in...

Noel said...

We did a short interview with her at a boat show before we actually had even half a clue about what we were doing.

Very very nice person. If you ever meet her you will like her.

Glad to see the trip she was talking about has come about.

Michael said...

What fun to know she's still pushing the limits! I read her story years ago and like you, was struck by her guts and spunk. Thanks for the update!