Following Joyon - on a budget

An American writer is hoping to follow in the wake of Francis Joyon’s record-breaking round the world voyage. But unlike Joyon, David Vann plans to make the circumnavigation in a 50ft aluminium trimaran,Tin Can,that he has built almost entirely from materials from Home Depot, a US DIY store.

Vann’s first boat sank under him – an experience recounted in his book ‘A Mile Down’. This time he hopes that his boat’s positive flotation will save him from a similar fate.

American sailing websiteLatitude 38claims that Vann likens himself to Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to climb Everest. But, the website points out that Vann is ” seemingly forgetting that Hillary made use of the best climbing gear at the time…it’s as though Vann wants to join the club of those who have made it to the top of Everest, but wants to be the first to make it having sewn his own shirt, pants, socks, and having cobbled his own boots.”

Vann aims to complete his circumnavigation in 4 months. With conditions in the Southern Ocean as they are, this is widely believed to be unfeasible. Latitude 38 believes that is – just about – possible , “assuming that the Coast Guard doesn’t declare it a ‘manifestly unsafe voyage’ and prevent him from leaving.”

If nothing else, this is the latest in a long line of ambitious sailing stunts: Last month a round the world race in 10-footers was announced, and in 1982 ex-SAS man Tom McLean took 7 weeks to cross the Atlantic in a 9′ 9″ boat. Three weeks later his record was broken by an 8″ shorter craft, so McLean simply took a chainsaw to his boat, cut off 2 feet of length and completed another crossing.

If you can think of any other eccentric sailing feats, send YM an email and we’ll compile a list.

David Vann’s Blog is at Esquire magazine.