This charming account of the voyage of two men in a small boat half way round the world from Plymouth to New Zealand in 1953 is a rare insight into a time, not long ago, when sailors had no GPS, electronics, radio or any of the mod cons that we take for granted today. Without lifejacket or a liferaft, they 'just took what came along', hand steering all the way, navigating by sextant, hand-cranking their engine and using oil lamps for light at night and for navigation. Sailors will be staggered how primitive conditions were only a few decades ago, even though it was the norm at the time. Part travelogue and part adventure story, the two friends encountered drunken harbourmasters, the mafia, the legacy of slavery and lost civilisations in the Pacific. Beautifully written, vivid in its descriptions of the two men's exploits ashore and on board, this quirky and entertaining book will be a fascinating read for sailors and non-sailors alike. 'A compelling story - I feel like I have sailed with them.' Yachting Monthly
Ben Pester was born in New Zealand and came to the UK in 1943, aged 18, to serve in the Royal Navy. During the 1950s he served in the New Zealand Navy. After leaving the service he joined the aluminium industry, rising to the position of an international chief executive. After retiring in 1990 he became a sailing instructor, and undertook several long distance cruises, including rounding Cape Horn. Until his sudden death in May 2010, at the age of 85, Ben continued to sail the coastal waters of Cornwall all year round in his beloved Marelle.