The rousing account of a 17-year-old Australian’s solo, nonstop sail around the world in his yacht, the Lionheart, published to coincide with the airing of a National Geographic special about the journey.
After 11 months at sea and nearly 27,000 nautical miles, Jesse Martin became the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe. When he set sail in late 1998, the voyage “was the culmination of years of dreaming.” Reared in the Daintree rainforest, Martin had a colorful childhood. At age 11, he was backpacking through Southeast Asia with his mother and his brother Beau; by 14, Jesse had already completed a three-month sailing trip from Melbourne to Cape York with Beau and their father. One year later, Jesse and Beau kayaked in Papua New Guinea and wrote an article about their experiences for Australian Geographic. When Martin decided to sail around the world, he notes, “I started from scratch, with no boat, no equipment, little training, and even less experience.” To support the endeavor, he approached Australian Geographic and a host of other potential sponsors. Something about the teen inspired confidence, and many companies signed on. In order to attain the record of an unassisted solo journey, Martin could not take supplies on board during his journey, although he was allowed to hand off garbage and at the halfway point to take on mail, which had to be inspected by an official to verify that it contained nothing that could assist him. The rapid narrative is peppered with Martin’s journal entries, which reveal the remarkable teen’s complexity. One part extremely competent sailor, he repairs a damaged furler and fixes the wind generator after a bird crashes into the blades. And one part forgetful teen, he neglects to pack a comb and for the next 11 months must use a fork to groom his hair.
A tribute to the spirit of adventure, akin to Robin Lee Graham’s Dove.