This is a book about the remarkable eight year long voyage of Shane Acton around the world in a tiny 18 ft yacht from 1973-1980. Shane began his trip without any previous sailing experience. When he was twelve he was given a canoe as a birthday present with which he had “endless hours of fun”. When he left school he joined the Royal Marines where he got some training on the handling of small craft. But he never set foot in a yacht or sailed one before he bought Super Shrimp (or Shrimpy), a used Caprice Mark I bilge keel sail boat with the aim of going around the world. When he began his trip Shrimpy had no engine! Shane bought a small outboard motor while sailing around the world.
He left the UK in
June 3, 1973, with very little money or equipment, guided by his
philosophy that it's better to live for one day than to exist for 100 years.
For navigation he used a plastic sextant, a cheap wristwatch, a radio (for
listening to BBC and correcting the
time on his cheap watch) and the theory out of Ranzen's book "Little Ship
Celestial Navigation". He gradually managed to set Shrimpy on self
steering so that he could cook or do whatever else had to be done. Pancakes was
one of his favorite meals at sea, as all the ingredients would keep
indefinitely (provided powder milk was used). When he got out of the shipping
lanes he was taking all his sails down each night and slept for a good ten
hours, with a paraffin lamp left to burn on the rigging. He crossed the
Atlantic ocean from Las Palmas in the Canary Islands to the Barbados from 23 November
1973 to 3
January 1974. In Panama, he
met Iris, “a beautiful, blonde-haired, blue-eyed Swiss girl” who joined him
across the Pacific. From Equador they sailed to the Galapagos Islands in 12
days of calm seas. They arrived on 24 December 1974. They crossed the empty pacific ocean
in 45 days and arrived at Nuku Hiva and Tahiti in 18 February 1975 and reached Cook
Islands by 23 October of the same year. At Fiji Islands they managed to survive
one of the worst gales they experienced through their trip. On 6 October 1976 they arrived at Brisbane, Australia
and sailed around it northwards until 10 June 1978, when they set out to Indonesia. At Bali Iris took a
flight to Switzerland and Shane carried on by himself. On 3 January 1979 he
left Lang Kawi Island, one of the most beautiful places he had been, to cross
the Indian Ocean to south India. By 15 May 1979 he crossed the Red Sea. He reached Cyprus in July
1979 and sailed through the greek islands, where Iris re-joined him until the
end of July 1979. He returned to England on 7 August 1980.
I love sailing. This book made me have one more wish before I die. I now wish I manage to sail around the world too.