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Old 12-18-2012
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Re: Big Freakin' Sails

Lou,

Howard Blackburn is considered on of the great solo sailors. He is worth checking out if you are interested in BFSs. His sailing adventures followed his life fishing. He sailed around Cape Horn and soloed the Atlantic twice in small boats. With no fingers! Yikes!

Blackburn Challenge - History

The event both celebrates and helps to keep alive the story of Howard Blackburn’s desperate mid-winter 1883 rowing of a small fishing dory from the Burgeo Bank fishing grounds to refuge on the south coast of Newfoundland. Blackburn and his dorymate Thomas Welch had become separated from the Gloucester fishing schooner Grace L. Fears during a sudden squall and found themselves nearly sixty miles from the nearest land. Over the course of the ensuing five-day ordeal, Welch would give up and succumb to a merciful death, whereas Blackburn would allow his bare hands to freeze to the shape of the oars, and row until he reached land.

Though Blackburn survived he ultimately suffered the loss of most of his fingers and toes due to frostbite. In spite of his handicap, he later went on to twice sail solo across the Atlantic Ocean, earning himself the title “The Fingerless Navigator”. His story is told in Joseph E. Garland’s “Lone Voyager”.

Quite a BFS mariner! Read this book if you get the chance.

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Last edited by downeast450; 12-18-2012 at 09:51 AM.
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