Jul 16, 2013


by Robin Lee Graham

Fine adventure story from the sixties about a young man who determined to circumnavigate the world in his 24-foot sailboat. He was only sixteen when he set out on his solo journey. Well, not exactly solo. He had the company of a variety of ship's cats throughout the trip, met and fell in love with a girl, later married her and she accompanied him on the sailboat for different legs of the journey. She also spent a lot of time jumping from place to place around the world to meet him at different ports. In fact, a large part of the book is their love story. There are lots of mishaps, storms, explorations in foreign places and other adventures. And loneliness. He talks a lot about feeling alone on the high seas in that boat with perhaps just a cat or two for company. The journey ended up taking Robin five years, and he didn't exactly make it all the way- if I remember correctly, he set out from Hawaii and finished up in California... But still it's an incredible (true) story one that I enjoyed much. Especially the survivalist bits and about how he did things "the hard way" because there was no other way back then! He didn't have GPS or even a two-way radio but navigated using the stars and various time-honored instruments. It's a book I'd like to revisit someday and I'm rather surprised my library system doesn't have a single copy!

The book came out after the National Geographic serialized his adventures. I'd like to see those articles, I can't recall now if I've read them or not (my parents had a large collection of National Geographics I used to go through as a kid... but more looking for pictures of animals than reading stuff!) Robin's story has also been made into a film- has anyone seen that? what did you think?

Rating: 3/5 ........ 199 pages, 1972

a few more opinions:
Craftsman Character
Hans is Great


  1. I haven't seen the film or the articles but his story sounds fascinating.

  2. You should read or see it! A very inspiring story, and good adventure too.

  3. I saw the movie!! I was 12 when my parents took me, because we were going to live on a sail boat ourselves. We did, for two years. I think often about the film. We also had the book, which I read then, and reread some years ago. I haven't seen the film in years. Of course what stuck in my mind as a twelve year old was when the boat suddenly rocks and the cat falls off the mainsail beam into the water, and the shark comes.....I wasn't concerned about the loneliness then, but now as an adult, it's the first thing I think of! The reliance only on yourself, no matter what happens, all alone on the ocean.

    I don't recall the Nat'l Geographic stories, though it does ring a bell.
    Hmm, now you've put it more firmly in my mind, I think I want to reread it soon and see what i discover this time, and how it corresponds to what I remember about living on a sail boat.

  4. Susan- I've never gone sailing, much less lived on a boat! Would love to experience that in some small way, someday. It will be really interesting to hear how your own memories compare to his experience, when you read it again I'll look for what you have to say!

  5. Now I have to find it, and I know I saw it sometime in the past couple of years and didn't pick it up! lol


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