I rarely read anything twice – If I am interested in a piece of fiction or a non-fiction work, I’ll take my time while reading so I can deeply digest and reflect on every aspect of content. While engaging in a writing project with the theme “Wind and Water”, a spark of nostalgia hit me and inspired me to re-read Dove, by Robin Lee Graham. I didn’t remember that it was a particularly well written account of his exploits as a boy sailor who circumnavigated the globe solo in his 24 foot sloop, returning as a man 5 years later, but still his story remained in the back of my mind.
When I re-read Dove, I discovered that indeed it was surprisingly well written, given the age of the author. Clearly Graham’s work with Derek Gill had something to do with the outcome, but the real work was accomplished by an extra-ordinary young man who challenged the elements.
As one who’s read nearly everything on the topic of solo sailing adventures, I questioned why this one was so different than the others. For me, the answer was that Dove did not include extensive passages detailing the work and procedures involved in maneuvering and navigating a small boat across oceans. Graham’s account was more about the personal journey and the love he found while experiencing humanity in all its diversity.
Still Extraordinary Years later – the Second Time Around (5 Star Review)
I read “Dove” shortly after it’s initial publication arrived in our local library. I was thirteen years old and entranced by what I’d read. This unique “coming of age” non-fiction account, inspired me along with hordes of others to pursue the kind of adventure that Robin Lee Graham wrote of in “Dove”. For both blue water sailors and those dreaming of such experiences, this story and the movie that followed, is to sailing, what “A River Runs Through It” and its movie, is to fly fishing.
I have no doubt that global blue water cruising had increased in popularity as a result of Graham’s voyage and his subsequent book that reads like a classic coming of age novel. After all these years, and having read nearly all the other books written by globe trotting sailors, a spark of nostalgia for those days in the early ’70s inspired me to read it again. I’m really glad I did, because this one stands out among all the others. Not because it was one of the first of its kind, but because Graham made it personal. His account was of a boy coming of age during an extraordinary adventure in both idyllic and life threatening situations – all before the age of GPS and real time communications.
If you’re a fan of coming of age literature or have an itch for armchair travel, this story will do more for you than satisfy the itch. It will inspire you to get out there and test yourself and perhaps discover true happiness.