moment count A sailor singlehands his 39 foot sailboat in heavy weather off the California coast.

Jun 8, 2011 by

sail boat heeling in heavy seas

Magellan didn’t at first intend to circumnavigate the planet; He was simply looking for a shortcut to the Spice Islands. Now the journey is taken in its own right, and, most recently, by a growing number of teenagers competing for the title of youngest solo circumnavigator. Still, the seas are just as tempestuous as they were centuries ago, with the ever present danger of unexpected storms and 100-foot (38-meter) rogue waves capable of snapping masts like crostini. Done alone, the experience verges on spiritual, offering an intimate understanding of the true vastness of the world and the minuteness of our humanly existence. That is perhaps why a successful solo sail feels less like a conquest and more like an allowance of passage by the grace of the sea. Return to Gallery

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