Famous Small Boats

This page is dedicated to all the small boat adventurers who have inspired us and who have given us confidence to take our own much smaller trips aboard LITTLE CRUISER. Thanks goes to everyone who sent us pictures and information. Without your help this page would not have been possible! Please keep sending us information, and we will keep updating the page!


YearLengthBoat Name CaptainDescriptionPictures/Info
William Bligh Set adrift near Timor after the famous "Mutiny of the Bounty", Captain Bligh and a crew of 18 loyal men survived a seven-week, 3,600-mile voyage in the cramped boat to reach the island of Timor. Certainly this ranks as one of the great small boat passages of all time.
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186626'Red, White and BlueJ.M. HudsonTwo Americans, J.M. Hudson and F.E. Fitch, crossed the Atlantic in a special galvanized metal lifeboat in 37 days from New York to England. This 2 1/2 ton vessel is the smallest boat to cross the Atlantic up to this date. It went on to sail to France to be displayed at the Paris Exhibition. anchor.gif - 81 Bytes
187020'Citta di Ragusa J.C. Buckley & Nikola Primorac This American and Austrian (respectively) sailed a converted ship's lifeboat from Cork, Ireland to Boston, Massachusetts. The trip lasted 84 days and is considered the first small boat Atlantic crossing East to West, as well as the first two man crossing in either direction. Noted in several books but best account is in Humphrey Barton's "Atlantic Adventurers."
187512'Centennial Republic N.H. Bishop Pittsburgh to Gulf of Mexico via the Ohio and Mississippi rivers in a Sneak-box. butReadMe4.gif - 358 Bytes
187620' Centennial
Alfred Johnson First person to cross the Atlantic solo West to East. This Grand Banks fisherman sailed his gaff-rigged dory from Gloucester, New Brunswick to Albercastle, Pembrokeshire. His boat is now on display in the Cape Ann Historical Society museum in Gloucester, MA.
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187719'7"New Bedford Thomas & Joanna Crapo This couple departed New Bedford, Massachusetts in their ketch rigged dory and arrived in Penzance England 49 days later. Originally Thomas had planned to go alone, but his wife insisted on coming. The voyage is noted in various sources including Thomas Crapo's book, "Strange But True: Life and Adventures of Captain Thomas Crapo and Wife," as well as in Jean Merriens' "Loney Voyagers."
187819'NautilusWilliam & Asa Andrews These two brothers sailed from Beverly, Massachusetts to Cornwall England in their two masted lateen rigged center boarder.
1880-188116'Little Western Fredrick Norman & George P. Thomas These two Brits performed the first double crossing of the Atlantic. They departed Gloucester, Massachusetts on June 12, 1880 before a crowd of 30,000 and arrived in Cowes, England on July 28, 1880. They stayed in England for a year and then set out on their return trip on June 15, 1881. After a difficult journey they arrived back in America after 65 days at sea. They not only beat the Andrew brother record for the smallest boat to make the crossing but also bettered the Andrews West to East crossing record by three days.
188118'City of Bath Ivar Olsen & John Trynor These two sailed in their dory from Newfoundland to Falmouth, England. This trip is noted in Humprey Barton's, "Atlantic Adventurers."
1882-188319'PacificBernard Gilboy He almost complete a trip from San Francisco to Australia aboard his 19' double-ended schooner. Unfortunately, his stores ran out after 6500 miles and 164 days. He was picked up at sea only 160 miles from Australia. The story is told in a log book printed as "A Voyage of Pleasure."
188812' 9"Dark SecretWilliam Albert AndrewsFailed attempt at crossing the Atlantic, but succeeded later on in 1892.
189115' Sea Serpent Josiah W. Lawlor Took part in a race from Boston to England against William Andrews in his 15' boat, Mermaid. Andrews's boat capsized several times, and he was rescued 600 miles East of Europe. Despite capsizing several times himself, Lawlor sailed on to reach Lizard Point, England in 45 days. Lawlor was eventually lost at sea during another race against Andrew. He and his 14'6" boat "Christopher Columbus" were never found.
189214'6"SapolioWilliam Albert Andrews Crossed the Atlantic from New Jersey to Portugal, and his record for the smallest boat crossing stood for 73 years. Andrews tried again in 1898 to cross the Atlantic in the 13' "Phantom Ship" but failed after 27 days at sea. The boat was then shortened in 1899 to 12' and renamed the "Doree," but he failed again after 3 weeks. In the end, Andrews was lost at sea while attempting another Atlantic crossing with his new bride in 1901 aboard the "Flying Dutchman." anchor.gif - 81 Bytes
190317'AmericaHoward Blackburn He attempted to cross the Atlantic from West to East in his tiny dory, but he capsized 165 miles East of Cape Sable. After righting the boat, he returned to port because his stores were ruined. What is so remarkable is that Blackburn was fingerless and that he had already crossed the Atlantic solo in both his 30' sailboat GREAT WESTERN (1899) and in the 25' sloop GREAT REPUBLIC (1901).
190320'Colombia II Ludwig Eisenbraun He sailed from Boston via Nova Scotia to Madeira, arriving in 56 days, before continuing on to Gibraltar and Marseilles, France according to the book "Lonely Voyagers."
190418'VraadOle (Abe)Brude This gaff rigged steel lifeboat was sailed with a crew of three from Norway to Boston in 162 days. It was reported to be "shaped like an English Walnut." anchor.gif - 81 Bytes
1914-191622'James Caird Sir Ernest Shackleton Shackleton and five other crew members made an epic 800 mile voyage to South Georgia Island after their failed Antarctic expedition. anchor.gif - 81 Bytes
Teresia Fava This Italian sailed his home-built 20' cutter from Naples to Newfoundland. The boat was completely decked over except for a center cockpit. What is remarkable is that he had no legs, having lost them during WWI when he was a steamer commander.
192818'AgaPaul Muller This German sailed his lugger from Hamburg to Santa Cruz and then on to the Bahamas, arriving in 67 days. After visiting Miami his trip ended in South Carolina when his boat caught fire.
1931-193319'ElainPaul Sproge (aka, Fred Rebell) He sailed across the Pacific in this small center boarder from Australia to San Pedro, California using 70 year old charts.
Harry Young He sailed in his self-built undecked sloop from New York to the Azores in 39 days. His trip is noted in the "Big Book of Sailing" by Frank Grube and Gerhard Richter
1947-194820'IngaFriedrich Brusgatis Sailed from Sweden to Venezuela, accompanied first by a friend and then his wife Yvonne.
194816'BerlinPaul Muller (See 1928) Sailing in company with his 18 year old daughter, Muller was headed to South American from his home in Germany. On the way, though, he died and his daughter landed safely in Africa.
194920'Nova EsperoStanley Smith
Colin Smith
Sailed from Halifax, Nova Scotia to England and written about in their book, "Smiths at Sea." An upturned dinghy served as a cabin.
195120'Nova Espero Stanley Smith
Charles Violet
The second trip was in 1951 from Dartmouth UK to New York (via the Azores and Newfoundland).. For this trip she had had a cabin built and was yawl rigged. The trip took about 18 weeks, and they wrote a book about the trip called “The Wind Calls the Tune”. Charles Violet subsequently sailed the boat through the canals of France and around the Mediterranean (“Nova Espero’s Third Voyage). anchor.gif - 81 Bytes
195219'SopraninoPatrick Ellam Patrick Ellam and Colin Mudie crossed the Atlantic East to West. anchor.gif - 81 Bytes
195215'L'HeretiqueDr. Alain Bombard Crossed from the Canary Islands to the West Indies in a rubber raft, living solely off the ocean for 65 days. anchor.gif - 81 Bytes
1952-195920'TrekkaJohn Guzzwell Sailed around the world. The book, "Trekka Around The World," is a must read. anchor.gif - 81 Bytes
195518'Hippocampe (Sea Horse) Jean Lacombe This French photographer sailed from Toulon, France and arrived in Puerto Rico in 68 days aboard his small Bermudian cutter. He then continued on to Atlantic City with his final destination being New York City. Later on his sailed in the first single-handed transatlantic race in his 21', "Cape Horn."
1959-196020'CraigDayton J. Lalonde This 35 year old American sailed from Los Angeles to Australia. The voyage was reported in the London Times on May 27, 1960.
1960-196120'Ganga Devi Capt. John Alexander, John along with Lt. Adrian Corkill and radio mechanic Hugh Burt sailed 9000 miles from Hong Kong to Falmouth, England according to the July 10, 1961 issue of the London Times.
196219'1"MermaidKenichi Horie Solo-sailed across the Pacific from Japan to California.
1963-201216'Shoal Waters A.C. Stock Charles covered over 60,000 miles in the Thames Estuary aboard his micro-cruiser, Shoul Waters. He passed away this year at the age of 85, but you can still read about his adventures at  http://shoal-waters.moonfruit.com/ anchor.gif - 81 Bytes anchor.gif - 81 Bytes 
1963-16'WandererMargaret and Frank DyeTheir books "Ocean Crossing Wayfarer, Dinghy Cruising, The Enjoyment of Wandering Afloat and Sailing to the Edge of Fear" tell of their many adventures aboard their Wayfarer dinghy, W48. Probably the most famous trip taken in "Wanderer" was when Frank sailed 650 miles from Scotland to Iceland in 1963.
196520'Island Girl John Letcher, Jr. Sailed from Honolulu to Sitka, Alaska in 44 days. See Yachting Magazine- June 1966 page 67, "Single handed Sailing" by Richard Henderson, and "Self-Steering for Sailing Craft" by John Letcher Jr.
196513'6"TinkerbelleRobert Manry Crossed the Atlantic from Falmouth, Massachusetts to Falmouth, England. Read the author's book, "Tinkerbelle" or see the boat at The Western Reserve Historical Society (Museum) in Cleveland, Ohio. anchor.gif - 81 Bytes anchor.gif - 81 Bytes butReadThis.gif - 420 Bytes
East to West Atlantic crossing. anchor.gif - 81 Bytes anchor.gif - 81 Bytes
196524'DoveRobin Lee GrahamYoungest person the sail around the world at the time, age 16-21. Later on Tania Aebi completed her circumnavigation at the age of 20 in her 26 foot boat Varuna from 1985-1987.
196620'ThumbelinaKenneth Weis Sailed 8,000 miles from Vancouver, British Columbia to Auckland, New Zealand in his home made boat.
196612'NonoalcaBill Verity He was an experienced yachtsman, having sailed the Atlantic six times (3 solo) and the Pacific twice (once solo). He set the record for the smallest boat by sailing from Port Everglades, Florida to Fenit, Ireland in 65 days. anchor.gif - 81 Bytes anchor.gif - 81 Bytes
196716'Korassa II Ikau Kashima This 37 year old Japanese photographer sailed from Long Beach, California to Yokohama, Japan. The 101 day solo voyage is reported in "The Spray" summer 1967 Volume XI no.2.
19686'April Fool Hugo Vihlen Crossed from Casablanca, Africa to Miami, Florida. Read about it in his book, "April Fool." anchor.gif - 81 Bytes anchor.gif - 81 Bytes anchor.gif - 81 Bytes
196811'Little One William Willis 3 attempted West to East Atlantic crossings. He was lost on his last attempt when he sailed from New York to England at the age of 77. His boat was found floating empty 400 miles off the coast of Ireland. anchor.gif - 81 Bytes
196817'Leisure 17John AdamsJohn sailed a stock Leisure 17 from Weymouth, England to Cuba where he was encarcerated for several weeks. He later went on to start the company Windpilot which specializes in windvanes and is still in buisiness to this day. . anchor.gif - 81 Bytes
196920'NimbusGeorge Cadwalader & Duncan Spencer West to East Atlantic crossing. See Yachting, May 1970- page 56 and "The Best of Friends" by David Michaelis.
1971-197420' 8"Ahodori IIHiroshi Aoki Circumnavigation.
197219'Very Willing Griffin David Blagden Finished 10th in 1972 single handed transatlantic race.
1972-198018'Super Shrimp

Shane Acton

Stock Caprice class sloop sailed around the world. Read his book, "Shrimpy." butReadMe4.gif - 358 Bytes
197312'Sjö Äg

"Sea Egg"
John Riding Sailed across the Atlantic and nearly across the Pacific until he was lost in the Tasman Sea. anchor.gif - 81 Bytes anchor.gif - 81 Bytesanchor.gif - 81 Bytes
197513'Ocean WaveBas Jan AderLeft Falmouth, England in June of 1975 in attempt to cross the Atlantic. Ten months later his boat was found empty 150 miles off the coast of Ireland. butReadMe4.gif - 358 Bytes anchor.gif - 81 Bytes
197714'9"GolondrinaCarlos Aragon Sailed from Acapulco to the Marquesas in a Finn class sloop! See "Motor Boating & Sailing Magazine," November 1978.
197818'Chidiock TichborneWebb ChilesFrom 1978-1984 Webb Chiles sailed around the world in his 18' Drascombe Luggers Chidiock I and Chidiock II. His adventures are well chronicaled in his wonderful books The Openboat and The Ocean Waits along with his article , Chidiock Tichborne II.  butReadMe4.gif - 358 Bytesanchor.gif - 81 Bytes anchor.gif - 81 Bytesanchor.gif - 81 Bytes
197918'Pere Peinard Claude & Genevieve Desjardins This couple spent nine years cruising aboard their Bruce Robert designed trailer sailor. Their adventure first began in Montreal and they sailed as far as Australia. anchor.gif - 81 BytesbutReadMe4.gif - 358 Bytes
197910'Yankee Girl Gerry Spiess He sailed from Norfolk, Virginia to Falmouth, England in 54 days. West-East Atlantic crossing. His book, "Alone Against The Atlantic" is a must read! anchor.gif - 81 Bytes anchor.gif - 81 Bytes
198110'Yankee Girl Gerry Spiess California to Australia. Picture is of Gerry's latest 16' boat, Scooter. anchor.gif - 81 Bytes
198214'HappyHoward Wayne Smith After sailing 10,000 miles from Miami, through the Panama canal, and across the Pacific, Wayne was wrecked on a reef off Noumea, New Caledonia in November, 1982. Undeterred he built the aluminum (9') Happy II there, and he continued on with his circumnavigation until it ended in Australia. anchor.gif - 81 Bytes anchor.gif - 81 Bytes anchor.gif - 81 Bytes
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19829'9"GiltspurTom McClean West to East crossing of the Atlantic. He is also known as the first person to row across the Atlantic solo, beginning in Newfoundland in 1969 and rowed for 70 days aboard his 20' dory to reach Ireland. He rowed again solo in 1987, making a 54 day passage from Newfoundland to England.
1982-19849' 1"Wind's Will Bill Dunlop Bill crossed the Atlantic (West to East) in his 9' boat in the spring/summer of 1982. He was later lost in June 1984 during his around the world attempt on his way to Australia from Aitutaki, Cook Island. anchor.gif - 81 Bytesanchor.gif - 81 Bytes
19838'11"God's Tear Wayne Dickinson

American, Wayne Dickinson crossed the Atlantic from Massachusetts to Ireland in 1983. Unfortunately, his beautiful boat was smashed to pieces when he was driven ashore at Arranmore Island in a force 10 gale after 142 days. Luckily, an Irish lighthouse keeper, Charlie Boyle, rescued him from probable death. More information can be found here.

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19837'11"GiltspurTom McClean Tom McClean of England crossed the Atlantic in 1983 from St. John's, Newfoundland to Oporto, Portugal in his cut down Giltspur from the year before. He is also known as the first person to row across the Atlantic solo. He began in Newfoundland in 1969 and rowed for 70 days aboard his 20' dory to reach Ireland. anchor.gif - 81 Bytes anchor.gif - 81 Bytes anchor.gif - 81 Bytes
19835'8"Toniky Nou Eric Peters East to West Atlantic crossing
19836'10"Big C Tom McNally West to East Atlantic crossing.
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1984-198712'Acrohc Australis Serge Testa Sailed his boat all the way around the world from 1984-1987. His fantastic voyage can be relived in the book, "500 Days." anchor.gif - 81 Bytes anchor.gif - 81 Bytes
19888'G'Day 88 Ashley Coulston Australia to New Zealand anchor.gif - 81 Bytes anchor.gif - 81 Bytes anchor.gif - 81 Bytes
198915'BrisSven Yrvind (formally Lundin) East toWest Atlantic crossing. with wife Olga. anchor.gif - 81 Bytes anchor.gif - 81 Bytes butReadMe4.gif - 358 Bytes
19899'6"MermaidKeniche Horie Pacific crossing from San Francisco to Nishinomiya, Japan. butReadMe4.gif - 358 Bytes
1990-199312'SqueakStephen Ladd 6,500 mile trip exploring rivers in the U.S. and South America, returning home through the Caribbean. Read about it in, "Three Years in a 12-foot Boat." butReadMe4.gif - 358 Bytes
199119'NCS Challenger Anthony Steward First open boat circumnavigation. butReadMe4.gif - 358 Bytes
19935' 4 1/2" Vera Hugh Tom McNally Sailed from Sagres, Portugal to Puerto Rico in 134 days, finishing his trip in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. anchor.gif - 81 Bytes anchor.gif - 81 Bytes butReadMe4.gif - 358 Bytes
19935'4"Father's Day Hugo Vihlen West to East Atlantic crossing from New Foundland to England in 1993.The epic voyage is well told in the book, "The Stormy Voyage of Father's Day." anchor.gif - 81 Bytes anchor.gif - 81 Bytes anchor.gif - 81 Bytes
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19983'11"Vera Hugh II Tom McNally Incomplete East to West Atlantic crossing in the smallest boat yet! Vera Hugh II is in Palmas, Gran Canaria, having sailed from Tangiers. Tom hoped to leave sometime in the summer of 2002, but as of yet he has not resumed his trip.anchor.gif - 81 Bytes anchor.gif - 81 Bytes butReadMe4.gif - 358 Bytes
200219' 6"
Alessandro di Benedetto First solo transatlantic crossing in a sport catamaran
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Aron Meder
Circumnavigation through the Panama and Suez Canal.
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16' 5"
Sven Yrvind
Sven Yrvind sails his 5 meter sharpie from Kinsale, Ireland to Martinique
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189618'FoxGeorge Harbo & Frank Samuelsen First persons to row across the Atlantic Ocean. They left from New York City on June 6, 1896 and arrived in the Scilly Islands 55 days later. Their epic voyage is well told in the book by David W. Shaw, "Daring The Sea."
192821'6"Deutscher Sport Franz RomerWest to East crossing of the Atlantic in specially made folding kayak. kayakssT.gif - 247 Bytes
195617'1"Liberia IIIHannes LindermannCrossed from Las Palmas, Canary Islands to St. Martin in 76 days aboard a stock Klepper Folding kayak. kayakssT.gif - 247 ByteskayakssT.gif - 247 ByteskayakssT.gif - 247 Bytes
PuffinDavid Johnstone & John Hoare Were lost at sea attempting to cross the Atlantic from West to East. They left a month earlier before Chay Blyth.
196620'English Rose III Chay Blyth & John Ridgeway Crossed the Atlantic from Cape Cod, Massachusetts to Ireland in 92 days.
BritanniaJohn Fairfax First to row across the Atlantic solo, Canary Islands to Florida in 180 days.
Super Silver Tom McLean Rowed solo from Newfoundland to Ireland in 71 days. butReadMe4.gif - 358 Bytes
Britannia II John Fairfax & Sylvia Cook Rowed from San Francisco to Australia in 361 days. butReadMe4.gif - 358 Bytes
1977-200217'10"IsadoraPaul Caffyn One of the greats in long distance kayaking. He has circumnavigated New Zealand (North and South Islands), Fiordland, Australia, Japan and Great Britain. You can read about his New Zealand adventures in the books, "Cresting the Restless Waves" and the "Dark Side of the Wave". His circumnavigation of Australia can be enjoyed in his recent book, "The Dreamtime Voyage," which we just got a copy of (8/02).
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Captaine Cook Gerard D'Aboville Rowed across the Atlantic (West to East) in 72 days.

Peter Byrd Rowed from California to Australia in 294 days.
1984-198625'5"Excalibur Pacific Curtis and Kathleen Saville Rowed 10,000 miles from Callao, Peru to Australia in 193 days. butReadMe4.gif - 358 Bytes
Ed Gillet Paddled from California to Maui, Hawaii in 63 days aboard his double kayak. butReadMe4.gif - 358 Bytes
199126'SectorGerard D'Aboville Rowed from Japan to Washington State in 134 days. We've read his book, "Alone," and it is quite good.
Kiwi Challenge Rob Hamill & Phil Stubbs These New Zealanders completed the fastest ever double handed East to West Atlantic crossing (Canary Islands to West Indies in 41 days) during the Atlantic Rowing Race . butReadMe4.gif - 358 Bytes
Jim Shekhdar Rowed solo from Ilo, Peru to Queensland’s North Stradbroke Island in 275 days. butReadMe4.gif - 358 Bytes

(Please note: for a complete list of long distance rowers visit OCEAN ROWING SOCIETY)
Also, you can see some other notable small boats here.
© David G. Bolduc 1999-2012