Sailors' Library


By Shane Acton

Published by Patrick Stephens

A recommendation by Ocean Sailor reader, Mary Bonney; “the book ‘Shrimpy’ by Shane Acton is a wonderful, inspiring story, if you can find an old copy.”

Would you sail an 18ft, plywood bilge keeler across the North Sea? I wouldn’t, but Shane Acton sailed his Robert Tucker-designed Caprice around the world, west-about via the Panama Canal.

For eight years after his circumnavigation, which started in 1972, Shane, a former Royal Marine Commando from Cambridge, UK, held the record for circling the globe in the smallest boat.

His book about that great adventure is one of the classic reads which should be on the list not just of all sailors, but of all non-sailors too, so inspirational is it and so modest is the skipper.

I read the book years ago and have ever since admired Shane’s youthful wanderlust and the sense that life is no rehearsal.

His sister, Debbie Watson, told her local newspaper after Shane had died from lung cancer in 2002: “He was always a bit of a loner and went off by himself. Dad would drop him off at a river somewhere and he would come home six weeks later. He had no real yachting experience.”

Shane returned to Cambridge after years living solo on an island off Costa Rica growing his own vegetables, with nothing but a sleeping bag; the only material thing he thought worth hanging onto was something that could keep him warm at night.


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