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So I grabbed up a discount copy of "Maiden Voyage" by Tania Aebi at the used bookstore yesterday. Big mistake? or no?. I read the first 4 chapters last night and I gotta say, I am completely surprised she lived to write this book. I picked it up thinking I would get some insight on the preparation, trials and excitement a person goes through on an extended cruise. I am thinking of deep sixing this book, because she mainly writes about typical adolescent problems and not very much in the way of what is going on. I guess this is because of her extreme lack of experience at the beginning.

I am shocked that anyone who cared about her let her even start this trip with the so little prep. I mean she hadnt even sailed the boat until she started, didnt know anything about navigation, for crying out loud she couldnt even anchor the thing. What kind of heartless SOB of a father would tell his daughter to stop crying and get back on the boat and sail, knowing full well the total lack of experience she has. She's lucky she even found Bermuda. I believe in tough love too, but I wouldnt willingly send my worst enemy out in that kind of shape.

I am halfway tempted to finish it but I got a feeling its going to end up being a love/family relationship story.
 

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Sorry that you don't like the book I think it is the best down to earth book I've read and refer to it lots and lend it out to alot of you sailors who are interested in sailing. Personaly myself usaully reread it about once a year and find something new that I mised. I think from what time has showed that for her it was a great experience, as even now she is sailing with her boys in the south Pacific. That's just my feeling, and yes there were some situations, which could have been dealt with differently but we weren't there. As for lack of experience, being in it is the best teacher, guess some people are just for the adventure, and some sit back and comment on the should have beens.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That's just my feeling, and yes there were some situations, which could have been dealt with differently but we weren't there. As for lack of experience, being in it is the best teacher, guess some people are just for the adventure, and some sit back and comment on the should have beens.
Yeah, well I wasnt being critical of how she dealt with situations, on the contrary, I think she was (and probably still is) smart as a whip, and obviously much more capable than most 18 year olds. She would have to be just to be able to make it, given her starting condition and knowledge.

I hope you are not suggesting that someone just buys a boat jumps in it and sails off into the blue. It would be crazy to think of even an experienced cruiser jumping into a used boat like that just sail off in it, much less a person with a little experience as she had. Thats not the kind of experience that teaches, its the kind that kills.
 

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It also shows you how a good boat, like the Contessa 26 Tania was in, can take care of the sailor, even when the sailor in question is basically clueless or not sure what to do. If she had been on a BeneHuntaLina....and trying that same trip with the same skill set.... she would have been a footnote... and a statistic more likely than not. :)
 

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I read the book about a year ago and liked it a lot. It did have a lot of the family, growing up kind of stuff but there was also a good deal of her experiences sailing and visiting the different parts of the globe.

I was also surprised at how little preperation went into it but on the other hand I feel now a days and especially a lot on this forum people are so obsessed with preperation and experience and never getting out there and actually do it.

Don't get me wrong, I am the type of person to usually over prepare myself and always very carefully plan things out and I am not referring to the "I am new to sailing and want to cross the Atlanic - would a sunfish be a good boat for the job?" type of post but I do feel if someone has half a head on their shoulders, knows the basics, time of year, has the proper equipment - then just go out there and do it!

I feel in our culture and this day in age we just lack that mentaility. I am a big advicit of being safe and again I am not saying someone new to sailing should just set off across the world on any boat - but I do think sometimes you do just have to get up and go and stop listening to every single person that says you don't have enough experience or not to do it because you havn't been preparing it for 10+ years. People have been doing things they probably should never have done for hundreds of years. Discovering America, the first airplanes, going to the moon, sailing around the world, etc. Preperation is a must but if you don't eventually take big risks and get out there then nothing of what we know today would be around. I don't mean to go off on a rant but it just feels like we live in this safe little bubble. 7 years ago when I was in Highschool there was 1 bus stop for my half mile road. Now in the same stretch there are 6 stops at every kids house just because it is safer if they don't have to walk 2 minutes down the road.

Life is all about learning from challenges and failures and growing from it and I know sailing around the world at 18 is an extreme example but I feel like now everyone looks down upon challenge and risks and its all about "safe" and "easy."

Again, safety is good and especially with all aspects of boating but I am referring more to the general outlook on life and getting the most out of it as oppsosed to never taking risks and challenging oneself.
 

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That reminds me...It's time to read Maiden Voyage again!!!

That book, and Dove, have inspired many of my dreams...someday I hope to follow in Tania's footsteps!
 

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I got the impression it was the best hope of a fed-up and worried father and a dis-affected and sinking fast teenager. While stubborness and an inability to ONLY think "inside the box" don't go over too well with most schools and parents, they become huge assets in different circumstances.

And dad had deep enough pockets to fly out and keep tabs on her where and when he felt necessary. Like Dove though, I think the narration and emotions speak to a certain age of which I am past. I read it once and that was enough. I keep reading Slocum over and over however.

Just my .02,
Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I was also surprised at how little preperation went into it but on the other hand I feel now a days and especially a lot on this forum people are so obsessed with preperation and experience and never getting out there and actually do it.

Don't get me wrong, I am the type of person to usually over prepare myself and always very carefully plan things out and I am not referring to the "I am new to sailing and want to cross the Atlanic - would a sunfish be a good boat for the job?" type of post but I do feel if someone has half a head on their shoulders, knows the basics, time of year, has the proper equipment - then just go out there and do it!
Here! here! My thoughts exactly. Its basically my situation. I am pretty confident in my sailing abilities but I have never been offshore cruising. My basic plan is to get take some time tidying things up here at home then jump into it (about 2 yrs). Spend a 3 or 4 months getting to know the boat, brush up on navigating, seeing what I might need to change, iron out the kinks and outfitting and then set sail.

I plan on starting out in Hawaii, where all my experience is based, sail the Islands a bit, then a jog over to the west coast and back then onward. I already have made a cross Atlantic and Med tour on a tow boat doing 10 kts so I know I being out at sea for long periods doesnt bother me, and I know I love sailing so I see nothing holding me back.

I didnt even have to talk my other half into it, she is enthusiastic in fact. I just hope the rough part (maintenance, passage in bad weather) doesnt overcome the fun part in her view. She has already traveled extensively, but not the south pacific Isles or carribean and this is the major sway for her. She has expressed some concern about weather and being so far out in the ocean all by ourselves. I told her, "Hey, you wont have to do so much laundry because we can run around naked all day!", turned out to not be that great of selling point with her. lol.
 

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Maiden Voyage

I just finished reading "Maiden Voyage" for the first time, yesterday. I applaud the courage of someone going on in the face of the unknown. Too many so called sailors won't leave the dock unless everything is planned to death, and all chance of danger and adventure nullified. Sure, she left before she was really ready. Sometimes the greatest adventures are spawned by lack of planning. Someone has about the same chance of disaster driving across the country, as they do sailing across the ocean in a good sailboat.

'Maiden Voyage" is one of the must reads if you want to understand voyaging.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
'Maiden Voyage" is one of the must reads if you want to understand voyaging.

Allright, allright, so I guess I will finish it, maybe it will get better as she gets into a bit farther.

"When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. It is stupidity rather than courage to refuse to recognize danger when it is close upon you."

-- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
 

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I read Maiden Voyage about a half dozen years ago and consider it one of the most interesting sailing books I've come across. What I liked best was reading about the maturing of Aebi both as a person and as a sailor.

BTW - I attended the Toronto boat show (winter of '85 I believe) and saw a burgundy Contessa 26. The salesman mentioned it had been bought by someone in the New York area for his teenage daughter to sail around the world.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yep, so I went ahead and finished the book. It turned out to be a much better book than the first few chapters had led me to believe. I actually wound up enjoying it. Hmmm, guess everyone was right and I was wrong.
 

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I just saw this thread. I'll say this: Tania is one of the more impressive people with whom I've ever had the occasion to spend some time. She's funny, smart, determined, and remarkably well grounded. Not to mention just an all-around nice person. She also doesn't really understand the word "can't." I don't know if she's always been that way, but I have a funny feeling that sailing around the world by yourself as a teenager probably alters your perspective on what is safe, advisable, possible, etc.

She didn't stop her self-sufficient ways with Maiden Voyage either. She has a house in Vermont, and she essentially built it herself, and she maintains it herself. What's remarkable, to me anyway, is that she wasn't raised some wilderness girl eating bark or something like that. She was the quintessential city girl who grew up in Manhattan. She just decided to reject that life for the most part, in favor of something more simple and what I suspect she would call more "real."

In terms of the book, I don't really have any more insight than anyone else. Just from reading it you can tell that it's more than a sailing story. It's the story of a girl (and I would say she definitely left as a girl and became a woman along the way) who undertook an unfathomable adventure and faced unbelievable conditions considering her experience level at the time. Also, and while I agree entirely that her experience level was light before she left, don't lose sight of the fact that she had crossed an ocean with her dad before she took off. As she says it, she was more of a passenger on that trip, but she did cross an ocean, which is more bluewater experience than most of us have before we take off on any given trip. To me, it could have been fiction and it would have been a great read. That it was true made it amazing, and that it was accomplished by someone my age was awfully humbling (what the heck have I done that comes even close to half of that accomplishment?).

Anyway, the short of it, from my perspective, is that it takes an extraordinary person to circumnavigate solo. People like that find a way to get things done, whether they're 18 or 81, whether they have tons of experience or just are thrown into a situation knowing nothing. Tania is one of those people. She expressed her character by sailing around the world, but she just as easily could have climbed Mount Everest, flown to the moon, or any one of those other feats that extraordinary people manage to accomplish.

Don't take my word for it. She'll be at the Annapolis Boat Show, so take some time and talk to her for a few minutes. Or better yet, sign up for our rally and come sail to Bermuda with her next June! :)
 

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She'll be at the Annapolis Boat Show? That's cool. How do we find her there?

Incidentally, not long ago she wrote an interesting piece for one of the sailing magazines about taking her kid cruising this year. It was well-written. And yeah, "Maiden Voyage" is a great read.
 

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She'll be at the Annapolis Boat Show? That's cool. How do we find her there?

Incidentally, not long ago she wrote an interesting piece for one of the sailing magazines about taking her kid cruising this year. It was well-written. And yeah, "Maiden Voyage" is a great read.
It ought to be on the boat show calendar somwhere. Not entirely sure where, but I suspect it won't be hard to find as the date gets closer.

She also wrote a series of articles/blogs on the Boat US website about her recent adventures with her boys. Here's the link: BoatUS Cruising Logs.
 

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I read Tania's book the first year it was published. The God's, and her boat, did indeed protect her when experience could not. I've also heard her speak on a couple of occasions and encourage anyone who has the same opportunity to do so. My second impression after reading her book was that Never could I have sent my "child" on such an adventure, as her Father did-even if they did need to "grow up" And I might add, my kids have turned into very responsible, secure, compassionate young adults without being shoved into the ocean by me. Thank goodness her story had a happy ending. If it had ended differently our comments would be taking a totally different spin. Years ago the magazine Lattitude and Attitudes used a photo of Tania sailing with her small children -no life jackets on the kids. It must have made an impression on me, because I'm mentioning it now, after all these years. I felt like it was a missed opportunity to be an example of safe boating and responsible parenting. It's my personal opinion that anyone who is in a leadership role should never pass up an opportunity to educate. The book is a good read, and I'm glad you completed it. When you have an opportunity to visit one on one with anyone you admire-it's a "treasure" and an inspiration you'll not soon forget.
 
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