And in Buddhism, of course, though it is not really theistic, we have a belief system based on the enlightenment of a man who isolated himself beneath a tree. But curiously, though humans as we have discussed before have long wandered across the watery part of our world, an inherently isolating experience, from the very beginning of our existence, we have in our history no real prophet of the sea. Moitessier did not originally go to sea seeking enlightenment. Snark prior to leaving Saigon in Moitessier built her by eye without any plan. She was lost on a reef near St.
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He left Indochina at the beginning of the Vietnam War as a crew member of sailing trade junks. On the first leg to Seychelles he had to stop her from leaking in the middle of the Indian Ocean by diving underneath the boat at sea.
He did not have modern navigational instruments, and was aware of his latitude via sextant observation but was estimating longitude and, as he tells it in "Sailing to the Reefs", neglected a three-knot ocean current, leading to the grounding. He was deported to Mauritius , because Diego Garcia is a military restricted area, and worked there three years before he could sail again in a boat he had built himself.
This he sailed via stops in South Africa and St. Helena to the West Indies, but on a trip from Trinidad to St. Lucia he once again was shipwrecked due to physical exhaustion. Picked up and taken back to Trinidad by friends, he decided to go to France directly, as it seemed the only place he could earn enough to build himself a worthy boat.
He was able to get work on a cargo ship which got him to France, via Hamburg , where he found work with a medical company whilst writing a book about his experience Vagabond des Mers du Sud. After wintering in Casablanca they sailed first to the Canaries , then to Trinidad , and through the Panama Canal to the Galapagos Islands. After two years of spending time in each of these places they arrived at Tahiti , but realised that they were running out of time and that there was just eight months left to return to their children.
So Moitessier proposed sailing Joshua home not via the Indian Ocean and Suez Canal , as originally planned, but eastward, via the quickest route, including a passage about the much feared Cape Horn. Somewhat reluctantly, Moitessier decided to sail Joshua to Plymouth to meet the criterion for the race of leaving from an English port, but left months after several smaller and therefore slower boats.
He departed Plymouth on August 23, and, after a quick passage south, he was off the Cape of Good Hope by October 20, In the process of transferring a canister of film and reports for the Sunday Times to a freighter, he allowed the bow of Joshua to be drawn into the stern of the ship, bending the bowsprit , which he was able to fix with winches on board. A succession of gales and calm periods characterised his trip through the Southern Ocean till he passed Cape Horn on 5 Feb In all this time he got no feedback on the progress of other competitors from local radio stations.
From the time of calms in the Indian Ocean where he was depressed and discovered yoga as a means of controlling his moods, he started to think of not returning to Europe which he saw as a cause of many of his worries.
The aim of continuing his voyage on again to the Galapagos Islands strengthened as he passed through the Pacific though he was determined to complete the circumnavigation first.
Finally having passed Cape Horn he had a crisis when a south-easterly gale started blowing him north again, and his account of his thought processes before he turned for the Cape of Good Hope reflects inner turmoil. However, the manner of his resignation, as he tells the story, is a key part of his reputation. Although driven and competitive, he passed up a chance at instant fame and a world record, and sailed on for three more months.
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston went on both to win the race, as its only legitimate finisher, and to become the first man to circumnavigate the globe alone without stopping. Although he abandoned the race, Moitessier still circumnavigated the globe, crossing around the Cape of Good Hope , South Africa , and then sailing almost two-thirds of the way around a second time, all non-stop and mostly in the roaring forties , setting another record for the longest nonstop passage by a yacht, with a total of 37, nautical miles in 10 months.
Despite heavy weather and a couple of severe knockdowns, he even contemplated rounding the Horn again. However, he decided that he and Joshua had had enough and, on June 21, , put in at Tahiti, from where he and his wife had set out for Alicante, Spain, a decade earlier. He thus had completed his second personal circumnavigation of the world, including the previous voyage with his wife.
It is impossible to say whether Moitessier would have won if he had completed the race, as he would have been sailing in different weather conditions than Knox-Johnston. However Moitessier is on record as stating that he would not have won .
They moved to the atoll of Ahe , where Moitessier attempted to cultivate fruit and vegetables. Ileana encouraged him to move to America to complete films about his sailing but he left after two years in his boat Joshua.
Joshua lay pounded on the beach, badly damaged and the boat was filled with sand. On a full moon high tide, as a trawler pulled the yacht with a tow rope, a bulldozer pushed the yacht back into the sea and she floated free. After further travels, Moitessier returned to Paris to write his autobiography, Tamata and the Alliance. Moitessier was an environmental activist who protested against nuclear weapons in the South Pacific and against overdevelopment of the Papeete waterfront in Tahiti.
Death[ edit ] Moitessier died of prostate cancer on June 16, and is buried in an informal corner of the main cemetery in Bono , in Brittany , France. Visitors to his grave leave thematic gifts such as slingshots , creating some elements of a shrine.
Partial list of works[ edit ] Un Vagabond des mers du sud Translated by Rene Hague as Sailing to the Reefs. La Longue route; seul entre mers et ciels Translated as Tamata and the Alliance by William Rodarmor, Voile, Mers Lointaines, Iles et Lagons
Chapter One Day Last month we reviewed the last book he wrote Tamata and the Alliance. This book is about his Round the World Race for singlehanded yachts. For Moitessier, the race finished in mid-Pacific after he had passed the three Capes and crossed his outward track, leading, and with the hardest sections behind him, he decided to forfeit the race and continue into the Pacific again, to anchor finally among friends in Tahiti. His actions were never explained by the news media; they could not have been, for the voyage had always been seen by Moitessier as something other than a sponsored, publicized, competitive event.
BERNARD MOITESSIER: Sailing Mysticism and The Long Way
He left Indochina at the beginning of the Vietnam War as a crew member of sailing trade junks. On the first leg to Seychelles he had to stop her from leaking in the middle of the Indian Ocean by diving underneath the boat at sea. He did not have modern navigational instruments, and was aware of his latitude via sextant observation but was estimating longitude and, as he tells it in "Sailing to the Reefs", neglected a three-knot ocean current, leading to the grounding. He was deported to Mauritius , because Diego Garcia is a military restricted area, and worked there three years before he could sail again in a boat he had built himself. This he sailed via stops in South Africa and St. Helena to the West Indies, but on a trip from Trinidad to St.
The Long Way