Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Joshua Slocum's Liberdade (Joshua Slocum 的自由號)

< Joshua Slocum's Liberdade (Joshua Slocum 的自由號)

The Liberdade, by Joshua Slocum

Illustration One is a Cabin Profile and Sail Plan of the Liberdade.

Illustration Two is a Midship Section. Notice the bundles of bamboo on the gunwhales for flotation and to prevent capsizing. Some features, such as the planking, resemble a Cape Ann Dory. Others features resemble a sampan.

The full text of The Voyage of the Liberdade, in plain text format:

Editor's Comments:

On February 28, 1886, Joshua Slocum, a Nova Scotian sailor, his American wife and their two young sons boarded the Aquidneck in New York harbor, bound for Montevideo, Uruguay. Shortly after Christmas Day, 1887, the 25 year old, 326 ton Aquidneck ran aground on a sand bar off the coast of Brazil, near Guarakasava. Slocum watched helplessly as his recently purchased barque was dashed to pieces in the pounding surf. The now impoverished Slocum no longer had the means to get himself and his family back to America. In a scenario straight out of "Swiss Family Robinson," Slocum made a bold decision. He built a 35 foot sailing vessel on that remote Brazilian beach, and sailed his family back to America. The vessel Slocum built was a cross between an American dory and a Chinese sampan, and was fitted with Chinese full batten junk sails. Slocum referred to it as a "canoe." It was completed on May 13, the anniversary of the day the slaves were emancipated in Brazil, and Slocum named it "Liberdade," Portuguese for "Liberty." On December 28, 1888, after a journey fraught with peril, Slocum triumphantly sailed the Liberdade up Chesapeake Bay into Washington, D.C. He and his family were finally home.

Why did Slocum choose a modified Chinese sampan hull and a Chinese full battened junk rig for the Liberdade? Because in his words:

"Her rig was the Chinese sampan style, which is, I consider, the most convenient boat rig in the whole world."

Seven years later, in 1895, Slocum would depart from Boston Harbor, MA in the 37 foot sloop Spray. For the next three years he would sail single-handed around the world, a passage of 46,000 miles, eventually arriving back in Newport, R.I. in 1898. This feat, believed to be without precedent in recorded history, would make Slocum the patron saint of small-boat voyagers, navigators and adventurers the world over.

-- Bevin Chu

Explanation: The Liberdade, by Joshua Slocum
Illustration(s): Cabin Profile and Sail Plan, Midship Section
Author(s): Unknown
Affiliation: McAllen Memorial Library
Publication Date: Updated September 2003
Original Language: English
Editor: Bevin Chu, Registered Architect

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