Maiden Voyage by Tania Aebi (with Bernadette Brennan)

Tania Aebi, returning to New York as the youngest person to circumnavigate in her Contessa 26 Varuna

The story

When Tania Aebi left New York to sail the voluptuous circumference of Planet Earth, she was 18 years old and a sailing beginner, with no GPS, no long-range radio, and – get this! – no Facebook page. It all began when her dad delivered an ultimatum to his unruly drop-out teenage daughter: either go to university, or sail around the world – alone. Tania hated school, so her father bought her a 26 foot boat that was the nautical equivalent of a beat-up, rusted VW with 300,000 clocked miles and a tendency to sputter noxious gases from the rear. Imagine if, as a father, you bought your child a car like this, even though your kid didn’t really know how to drive, then stuck her behind a temperamental gear stick and sent her on a solo cross-country journey. Times the risk levels by about 1,000,000, add the possibility of drowning, the excitement of storms, a cat companion that pees on soft furnishings, and that is the story you’ll read about in Maiden Voyage. Some may call it abuse; I call it 304 pages of awesome.

The lessons I learned

  • If she can do it, I can do it. (I read this book before deciding to sail across the Pacific and it inspired me to just go for it.)
  • You don’t have to be an expert to jump in the deep end: your inbuilt survival instincts will fast track the learning process.

Best quote

“When God designed the Marquesas … he must have been high.”

More True Story Books That Have Changed My Life:

Swimming To Antarctica by Lynne Cox

The Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert

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