Sailors' Library

Just Sea & Sky

By Ben Pester

Published by Adlard Coles Nautical

There was a time when sailing without lifejackets, life-rafts or emergency beacons was normal practice and this was still the case in 1953 when Ben Pester went over the side in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

He watched his classic gaff yawl, Tern II, once owned by legendary yachtsman Claud Worth, sail majestically on, as his crew slept below.

I will not spoil the story of Ben’s survival. He told me his story over several pints of Guinness, at the now-defunct London Boat Show, and asked me to write the preface for this book which was published in 2010.

Ben had been a Royal Navy officer engineer during World War II and eight years after the conflict ended was given a new role on a ship in his native New Zealand. He decided to sail the 14,000 miles from Plymouth to Auckland to start his new job and the Ministry of Defence granted him the leave to make the voyage, acknowledging it would add to his experience.

This book is the account of that voyage, which many contemporary yachtsmen wish to make, and they, like me, will find this yarn a reminder of just how little electronic equipment a true sailor really needs when going offshore.

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