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Original Issue


'Dec. 15: LAND HO. Right on Courser!'

So reads the last entry in the log of the 32-foot sloop Bonaventura, Bob Elliot, owner and skipper. Landfall (Dec. 15) was the island of Barbados; last port (Nov. 6), Las Palmas in the Canaries. Elliot had accomplished a rare feat of seamanship: a late autumn crossing of the Atlantic, alone.

Elliot has been around boats most of his 21 years, sailing small craft out of Marblehead, Mass., his home. He attempted the solo crossing "to see what it was like." The Bonaventura's log shows it to have been an ordeal of boredom, frustration and acute anxiety—"Nov. 7: Too nervous to write. Nov. 8: Raining and very lonely. A ship from Liverpool passed close by. Nov. 10: Sky overcast, wind very light; had corned beef and mashed potatoes, very lumpy. Nov. 12: Squalls, had to reef headsails, took me two hours. Nov. 15: Read on after-deck; one of forestays let go about midnight, took sails and boom with it. Nov. 16: If my navigation is right we have 1,900 miles to go, but am I on course? Have been reading a book a day, pretty soon will be down to classics. Nov. 17: The weather looks bad, glass going all over the place; my nerves are shot from watching this weather. Nov. 18: My 21st birthday, now I can get a legal drink in the U.S. Terrible squalls, too rough to bake a cake (hah!). Hurricane coming? Nov. 20: No wind. Read This Side of Innocence. Nov. 25: Sharp pain. Appendicitis?" And so it goes until Elliot's final triumphantentry. "Dec. 15: LAND HO. Right on Course!"