He Was Only 16 When He Sailed Across The World Alone, Traveling A Total Of 30,000 Miles With Only A Crew Of Cats As His Companions

thakala - - illustrative purposes only

When Robin Lee Graham was 16 years old, he made international headlines for becoming the youngest person to sail around the world on his own.

From 1965 until 1970, he traveled a total of 30,000 miles with a crew of cats as his only companions. Now, Robin lives on the shores of Flathead Lake in Montana with his wife Patti, whom he met at sea.

Ever since childhood, Robin has always had an interest in all things water. At the age of 10, he persuaded his father to buy a small dinghy boat for him. A few years later, his father purchased a bigger boat and decided to take the family on a journey out to sea.

When they returned, Robin struggled to keep up with school. He was bored with the lessons in the classroom and preferred the skills he learned while at sea.

So, Robin moved out to their family’s new home in Hawaii. He made two friends who also loved sailing. Together, they pooled their savings and bought a 16-foot aluminum lifeboat. On January 28, 1965, Robin and his friends set out to Lanai.

However, they got caught in a storm. The next morning, they discovered through their transistor radio that the U.S. Coast Guard was looking for them and that it was assumed they had perished in the storm.

They managed to reach Lanai and came across some beachgoers who drove them to the police station. They were fined with a $100 ticket for negligently operating a boat, but the judge dropped the fine. Robin’s dad got him a better boat in California so he wouldn’t try to go off in an unsafe vessel again.

In the summer of 1965, he took off from California to Hawaii, starting on his five-year-long adventure. He made stops in Indonesia, Australia, South Africa, and the West Indies. Sailing solo came with a lot of hardships, but he managed to overcome them. For instance, it was a challenge to get proper sleep. The biggest struggle was the constant loneliness.

He also encountered some near-death experiences. Between New Guinea and Australia, he almost collided with a big steamer passing by him in the middle of the night. The wave caused his boat to tilt sideways, and water started pouring into it. Fortunately, his boat righted itself.

thakala – – illustrative purposes only

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