Originally Posted by Omatako :
Many years ago we came across a guy who sailed from Indonesia to South Africa on a 24 foot sailboat using a school atlas for navigation. When he landed he knew he was in Africa but had no idea which city. He simply found a loom on the horizon one night and sailed to it, finding Durban.
So it can and has been done."
Some years back while I was doing some work on my boat, I saw, entering the port, a fishing boat towing a strange boat. Well it had a mast but it didn't look like a sailboat.
I went to have a look and the fishermen (they knew me) asked me to translate because they couldn't understand what the Englishman wanted.
It turned out that the guy (around 55/60 years old) wanted to know how much he owed them for the rescue. They all smiled, as if the question was rather unnecessary and they said: “You owe us nothing, but if you pay a beer, we will accept”.
And that's how I knew Philip, a guy that was to become a friend.
It turned out that the boat was a Second World War torpedo boat converted to a sailboat!!!!
… I have to say, it looked a very strange sailboat
Philip was "fished out" by the fishermen 35 miles out, with a flooded engine, almost no fuel, almost no water and with ragged sails. He was also in very bad shape, not injured, but half starved and dehydrated.
He had no sail experience, was living the adventure of his life and, of course, he had as charts, the world atlas of his son
Well, in what regards sailing, the guy was crazy, but on all other accounts he was a very nice guy and a very interesting person. He was an educated man with an interesting life story. He worked with “acupuntura” (Chinese medicine with needles) and was very good at it. My wife and I can attest that.
He was very British, quite a gentleman, and I still remember some of his strange idiosyncrasies. For example: he never worked on his boat on sunny days (when everybody else was working).;on those occasions he was seated on his boat reading. When the weather was nasty, on cold and rainy days, there it was Philippe, working on his boat. He also didn’t drink alcoholic beverages during the day, only at night. These peculiarities and his easy going personality made him a popular guy among the fisherman that gave him a lot of fish. They think he was mad, but a nice guy.
He stayed among us for almost a year, recovering the boat and recovering his strength. He never went out for sail, not even in my boat that he considered fragile and dangerous (I had a traditional 80 years old traditional sailboat).
One nice day Philippe announced that in a week he was sailing to Brasil. We could not convince him otherwise, so on a nice summer day he sails out with its World Atlas as a guide.
He said that he would send a postcard when he arrived.
That was 30 years ago and unfortunately we never got any postcard.