Author: Joshua Slocum

eNotator: Chris Thomerson


eNotated Sailing Alone Around the World from eNotatedClassics on Vimeo.

eNotated Voyage of the Destroyer from eNotatedClassics on Vimeo.

( see video interview on Joshua Slocum )


Sailing Alone Around the World

Though most eBooks are simple conversions of paper books, the "eNotated Sailing Alone" is a completely new approach that takes advantage of the potential eBook technology offers to extend and enrich Slocum’s writing in a way that’s convenient to use while still unobtrusive to the reader.

Based on the 1901 edition of Sailing Alone Around the World and including more than 60 original illustrations, this eNotated edition extends Slocum’s writing by providing a new layer of information behind the text the reader can access before, during, and after each chapter.

For instance, in Chapter 15, when Slocum writes, “Taking things by and large as sailors say…,” Thomerson’s eNotation tells us Slocum means “Overall, or in most cases” and that “Sailing ‘by’ means toward the wind, sailing ‘large’ means away from the wind. Hence ‘by and large’ encompasses most of the possible options and implies ‘most of the time’”.

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Voyage of the Liberdade

Joshua Slocum, intrepid solo sailor of the Spray (see The eNotated Sailing Alone Around the World) had earlier lost his ship, Aquidneck, in Brazil and built a small craft, the Liberdade to return with his family home. It’s a remarkable story but filled with 19th century sailing terms, geographical references, and idioms that may be lost to the modern reader. Chris Thomerson, lifelong sailor and student of maritime history, provides the background and explanations so today’s readers can thoroughly understand, appreciate, and enjoy Slocum’s tale by adding expert electronic annotations linked to words and phrases in Slocum’s original text.

Based on the 1890 edition of The Voyage of the Liberdade this eNotated edition extends Slocum’s writing by providing a new layer of information behind the text the reader can access before, during, and after each chapter.

For instance, when Slocum writes “weather-bitted,” Thomerson explains it means, “Tie to the post or bitt on the bow in a secure way that will withstand extreme weather for a long time.”

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The eNotated Voyage of the Destroyer
Joshua Slocum, intrepid solo sailor of the “Spray” (see The eNotated Sailing Alone Around the World) had earlier, improbable adventures that would have terrified even the saltiest sea dogs. Here, in The eNotated Voyage of the Destroyer he tells a harrowing tale of moving a ship from New York to Brazil, facing storms, near sinkings, and pirates — but his colorful story is filled with 19th century sailing terms, geographical references, and idioms that may be lost to the modern reader. Chris Thomerson, lifelong sailor and student of maritime history, provides the background and explanations readers need to thoroughly understand, appreciate, and enjoy Slocum’s yarn by adding expert electronic annotations linked to words and phrases in Slocum’s original text.

Based on the 1894 edition of The Voyage of the Destroyer, this eNotated edition extends Slocum’s writing by providing a new layer of information behind the text the reader can access before, during, and after each chapter.

For instance, when Slocum writes, “tell it not to the Marines,” Thomerson explains “Marines were reputed to believe any tale, no matter how embellished or ludicrous.”

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A true sailor

Joshua Slocum has written a tremendously engaging, entertaining and largely self-explanatory travelogue. My intention is to increase the reader’s understanding and enjoyment by demystifying the traditional nautical terms naturally included that might otherwise obscure his meaning or mislead the reader.Slocum, who ran away to sea for the first time in 1858 at age 14, was immersed in the life and times of sailors at the end of the Great Age of Sail. His book is remarkable, being based not on his limited education but on his storytelling skills seemingly native among mariners.

As a true sailor he appears to love a challenge, and particularly to make fools of experts and shun new fangled devices. Traditional ways work well for him. He entirely re-built the Spray using the shape of the original as a pattern. In those times there probably were not plans for the vessel, the original builder selected curves and lines making it look right to his eye, based on his apprenticeship and years of experience.

Slocum was a living contradiction, both the epitome of a traditional seafarer, steeped in and rigidly adhering to the long established customs and rituals of the sea, and, a rugged, self-sufficient individualist defying the conventional and previously unquestioned maritime wisdom of his day.

He eschewed modern methods such as navigating using a chronometer, which in those days was a fragile and delicate instrument unsuited to the rigors of sea travel yet required to be precise to within seconds. His clock had no minute hand. Instead he used traditional navigational methods of deductive reckoning with remarkable skill based on his decades of experience at sea.

At that time common experience, conventional wisdom and the testimony of experts asserted as irrefutable that a sailing vessel needed constant attention and adjustment to its steering. He trusted his adventure and his life to his own sure knowledge that conventional wisdom and the experts were wrong.

Our present day common experience and conventional wisdom holds it as obvious that a well designed sailing vessel is perfectly capable of being set to hold a course, or self-steer, as originally conclusively demonstrated by that highly skilled, self sufficient, nautical traditionalist Joshua Slocum.

Chris Thomerson


About eNotator Chris Thomerson

Chris Thomerson - grew up sailing the North Sea off the east coast of Great Britain starting in the late 1950s. His constant companion of the time was a paperback book “A Dictionary of Sailing” and he mystified his parents by quietly studying the complex rig of sailing ships from previous centuries. They were probably glad it reduced the amount of other mischief he got up to in his youth. He has since sailed small boats in French Polynesia, the Mediterranean, the Sea of Cortez, and up and down the west coast of Mexico and the USA, the graveyard of the Pacific. His most cherished adventures have been following the path of various explorers up the Inside Passage to Alaska, in small sailing boats. He has yet to be shipwrecked.


Reviews

The eNotated Sailing Alone Around the World

Five stars: A new and engaging version of a timeless classic
By Richard E. Spilman, March 6, 2011, Amazon Kindle

I recently read The eNotated Sailing Alone Around the World by Joshua Slocum. Enotation is electronic annotation, where instead of footnotes or endnotes, there are embedded links in the text of an e-book. A book like Slocum's which contains a fair amount of sailing jargon and many geographical references is a perfect candidate for eNotation.

Before discussing this edition, however, a few words on Sailing Alone Around the World are in order. In 1895, Joshua Slocum was as ship's captain at loose ends in the last days of sail. He rebuilt a 37' gaff rigged oyster sloop named Spray, and proceeded to sail it around the world alone, the first person ever to do so. His book about the voyage, Sailing Alone Around the World, is a nautical classic. I would argue that it is a literary classic, period. Slocum's direct, deceptively simple yet vivid language reminds me of Mark Twain. If you haven't read Slocum, you should. Soon. This edition might not be bad place to start.

The eNotation was done by Chris Thomerson, who grew up sailing the North Sea. The challenge for an annotater, or in this case an eNotator, is selecting the right words and phrases to annotate. Beyond that, it is important to keep the annotations as concise possible so as not to distract too much from book itself. Overall, Thomerson does a very good job.

The eNotatations range from short definitions to slightly longer summaries. For example - in chapter 3, after eight days at sea Slocum sights a sail. "The sail was a barkantine, three points on the weather bow, hull down." By clicking on the underlined phrase " three points on the weather bow" the enotation opens as follows: "32 points for one full turn or 360 degrees. One point is 11.5 degrees, three points is 34.5 degrees back from the bow on the side the wind is coming from." By clicking again, you are returned to where you were in the text, to continue reading.

If you are familiar with the nautical jargon, you can just keep reading. If you are less so, reading the enotation is quick and easy and doesn't distract from the reading itself. There are also numerous notations tied to geography, idiomatic phrases and bits of history. Often the enotations are just fun in their own right. When Slocum writes: For sufficient reasons, I left that timepiece at home, where the Dutchman left his anchor." The notation explains the legend of the Flying Dutchman, cursed to sail forever. Sailing without stop forever doesn't require an anchor, which the Dutchman, therefore, left at home.

The annotations can also add context. Slocum spent $553.62 on the Spray. The annotation estimates the 'current cost of $30,000 to $50,000, still a relative bargain, but not the trifling sum that it might first appear.

Two other features are included in this edition. The original illustrations are included, which can be blown up to full screen size with a click, a feature not usually available on a Kindle book. Also each paragraph is numbered making it easier to keep track of if reading as part of a book club or study group.

Joshua Slocum's Sailing Alone Around the World by eNotated by Chris Thomerson, is a new and engaging version of a timeless classic. Highly recommended.

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Five stars: An incredible experience
By D. Eagle, February 9, 2011, Amazon Kindle

Reading Joshua Slocum's Sailing Alone Around the World with the eNotations is an incredible experience. Slocum's achievements and books are amazing. However, since they take place in the late 1800s, and involve sailing, there are many, many terms which most people reading them today don't know. That can make the reading tedious. But, with an instant ability to see what each term means, the real impact of the story and Slocum's accomplishment comes through. He was the first person to sail around the world alone.

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Five Stars: Wonderful Read for Sailor and Non-Sailor Alike
By S. G. Baughn, May 6, 2012, Amazon Kindle

A beautifully written yarn from start to finish, with plenty of humor, excitement, and interesting characters throughout. A must read book!