Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Sailing Alone Around the World” as Want to Read:
Sailing Alone Around the World
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Sailing Alone Around the World

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  5,506 Ratings  ·  394 Reviews
In 1895, Slocum set sail in his sloop, the Spray, on a voyage that was to take 3 years & earn him a place in history as the first man to navigate the globe singlehandedly. Here is Slocum's own story, told with the salt resilience of an old sailor. 4 1/2" x 6 3/4".
Paperback, 264 pages
Published January 1st 2000 by Barnes & Noble (first published 1900)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Sailing Alone Around the World, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Sailing Alone Around the World

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details

Check out how awesome this Joshua Slocum dude is. He's old, he's on a boat, he's got a badass straw hat. He doesn't care that he looks like a doofus with it on, which makes him that much cooler. He was the first person to circumnavigate the world alone (and that means to sail all the way around it, for you greenhorn scallawags out there).

When he was nearly a few scores old, he shoved off from Newport, Rhode Island (without his wife/cousin Henrietta or his many children) in his trusty Spray to re
This is the type of book that reaches out to you. I am not a sailor and much as I love and respect the sea, I usually get sea-sick. But it was an adventure to read this book, which is written with a precision and candidness that draws one to the tale.

Slocum didn't just accomplish an incredible feat, he left a written record of an age long gone. He writes of cultures that have now disappeared amidst the wave of consumerism. When he is at sea, I swear you can smell the salt air and hear the ocean.
Joshua Rigsby
In a word, this book is delightful.

The author, Joshua Slocum, did something truly remarkable. He was the first human being to ever sail alone around the world. Yet, perhaps the best part of this story is his style of presentation. Slocum is laid back, self-effacing, and actually quite funny.

Some of the great lines were, "My singing has never inspired envy in others." and "He was a bearish man, and I've met a bear before." Upon coming across an uncharted island, Slocum promptly named it after a
Sep 06, 2007 Michael rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sailors
This used to be required reading for Massachusetts high school students. Joshua Slocum was the first to sail solo around the world. Still crazy to this day. The story was great in detail and local interest for the places it dealt with. I love Slocum's writing at points, but like Moby Dick, at other times I feel I'm just pushing through to get to the good parts again. His historical detail and places he visits is not only a good story worth reading, but if you think about it for a moment, the tim ...more
James Elliot Leighton
This was one of the most influential books that I have ever read. I read it while still in my teens. Growing up in a seafaring (Naval) family I was able to sail from age eight. At eighteen, when other teens were looking for their first car, I bought (from an eighty-two year old widow) my first yacht, a 1928, wooden hulled A Class gaff rigged sloop that had sunk at its moorings during a storm. With a lot of help, I raised it, refurbished it, and lived on it for the next eighteen months. I then jo ...more
Daniel Villines
One person's adventure is not necessarily another person's adventure.Sailing Alone Around the World is Joshua Slocum's self-narrated account of his solo voyage around the world in the 1890's. Everything about his voyage is worthy of being told. His voyage was made without radio, radar, GPS systems, or aircraft at the tail end of 19th Century. When Slocum sailed out over the horizon he was alone, known to no one, and to perish meant that he would simply disappear. But his narrative comes across a ...more
Nov 03, 2009 Tim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Joshua Slocum, a New England sea captain, in his retirement built a sloop that he named the Spray. In it he set out in 1895 on a solo journey around the world. Three years later he again landed in New England having traveled some 46,000 miles circumnavigating the globe. This little book is his account of the journey. The style of the man and his writing is direct, humble, educated and thoughtful, the account of a man with oceans of schooling but little of the carefully prescribed learning prized ...more
May 31, 2010 Laura rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, sea
I picked this book off the shelf a few years back, because I realized it was the story behind a song that loved.

This book really didn't do anything for me. There was enough technical jargon to be confusing to a newbie like me to the sailing world, but not enough to give any real information on how he sailed. In fact, I'm not fully sure how he filled so many pages, because it felt like he hadn't said anything by the time I reached the end. It seemed to mostly be a story of hopping from port to p
Mar 21, 2012 Judy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Judy by: Adventure Group
I'm not going to say much about this book because I don't have enough superlatives. Simply said, if you want to read (or listen, in my case) to an adventure memoir that takes you around the world, is narrated by a grandfather-like character and has dry wit, this is your book. I loved it! I would not be surprised if I picked it up again.
Jan 23, 2016 Owlseyes marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travelogue

This is a must-read I’ll devour; because it’s the first solo circumnavigation of the globe waters, by Captain Joshua Slocum.

He departed from the USA in 1895, when he was 51. The boat he used, he himself had fixed; a not new one, the “Spray”.

Azores, Gibraltar, Brazil and other South America nations, then the Pacific ocean and Australia, are the initial itinerary landmarks. Next, back to the west till Saint Helena isle where Napoleon had been in prison.


Yet he never made it back, as
Oct 24, 2014 Alan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the great maritime autobiographies, beginning in New Bedford--well, across the harbor in Fairhaven where Slocum reworked an unpromising vessel for a year or slightly more. An old oyster sloop, it had been out of commission since 1885 when seven years later Slocum was offered it for free, moving it from Poverty Point up to his house on the Acushnet River.
I taught Sailing Alone a couple times to my Freshman Comp class at a local community college, the last in a five book course that would
Jan 19, 2012 Ned rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
After hearing about this book many times (in the NYT Book Review, various online publications), I finally decided to sit down and read it. A man, all alone, sailing around the world with his tiller lashed and reading belowdecks, what's not to love? Quite a lot, actually.

Slocum glosses over the parts that would interest modern readers (storms at sea, exotic islands) and belabors his meetings with now insignificant historical figures, e.g. ships' captains, colonial governors, and Mrs. Robert Loui
Apr 18, 2012 Tuck rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
first person to solo sail around earth. good writer, funny, salty, not too misanthropic, and incredible navigator. this edition has very nice intro by thomas philbrick, and is illustrated, maps, nice bibliography.
since then, a biography has shaken the slocum-lovers world and turns out he was yes, a circumnavigator, but also sailed the last sail powered commercial ship, and almost sunk it and fought off mutiny (a black black mark on any captain, no matter how justified), got busted for playing a
Nov 19, 2009 Wdayne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I finished this book a couple of weeks ago, and I still think about it daily. That is the mark of a great book to me. Josh Slocum was not afraid of the ocean, he understood it's every breath. When you read this tale you feel like you can do it too, and I rank this with one of the most impressive feats that a person could accomplish even today. This is basically the old man's diary. He tells the state of the world from a worldly perspective, in other words he's seen both sides of the globe and he ...more
Bill Rogers
Jan 31, 2015 Bill Rogers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Note: The edition I read was the free Gutenberg Project electronic text, an edition not listed here. The text was adequate, but like many free ebooks it had been made by optical character recognition from an old library book and had many typographic errors.

Sailing anywhere alone is dangerous enough to be exciting, even if you don't leave sight of land. Sailing alone around the world is a tremendous accomplishment even today. Imagine, then, what it would have been like to do it in the late 19th C
This is such an enjoyable read. Joshua Slocum was the first to circumnavigate the world alone, in his ship the Spray, which a whaler friend donated. He found the sloop sitting in a field covered with a tarp, and needing to be completely rebuilt. It's a Barnes & Noble Classic for good reason. The writing is descriptive and engaging, and his candid stories about his own mishaps, fever hallucinations, digestive issues aboard ship, and native cultures sound like they just happened yesterday.
Feb 14, 2008 Tracy rated it really liked it
I gave this book 4 stars because I LOVE real-life adventure of any kind. To a fellow lover of this kind of book, I would actually say it is a 5 star book, but to those not equally inclined, it may be a 2 or 3 star. Hope that makes sense. All about Cape Horn and its extremely difficult currents that have sunk multitudes of ships. The Straits of Magellan, Tierra del Fuego, the fascinating and gruelling life of the indigenous Indians.
What an undertaking this was! While reading this book I was continually amazed at the understated courage of Capt. Slocum and his thorough knowledge of the sea. He has this way of making it sound almost every-day, or, at least not nearly the astounding endeavor that it really was. I remember reading “Dove” by Robin Lee Graham when I was a teen, and loving it to bits – but this journey by Slocum has a whole different flavour. (I picked it up because Jack London referred to it several times in “Th ...more
Nov 24, 2011 Ach rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If I was the first person to sail round the globe solo - in a wooden boat I designed and built - I'd think I was awesome.

If Joshua Slocum felt that way he doesn't show it, and that's what I really like about this book. There's lots of description of amazing stuff, but mostly it's about things he saw, rather than the stuff he did. For example:

"On the tenth day from Cape Pillar a shark came along, the first of its kind on this part of the voyage to get into trouble. I harpooned him and took out hi
William Graney
Jan 28, 2009 William Graney rated it really liked it
Despite the recommendation from a fellow member of the Adventure Reading Group I was a little leery going in as I thought that due to 1899 copyright date the writing style might be a little too old school and bland. But reminding myself how much I’ve enjoyed Melville and Thoreau encouraged me to go for it.
The writing style is surprisingly smooth and light (although I wouldn’t quite call it a page-turner, it requires focus). Captain Slocum had a lot of machismo but he also didn’t seem to take hi
Ryan Miller
Feb 09, 2012 Ryan Miller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. Slocum's circumnavigation of the world was an incredible feat, but the greatness of the story is the way he went about it. He came across an old clam boat sitting in the middle of a field in New England and fixed it up - the boat was about a hundred years old already! He fixed the boat up and set off. He wasn't motivated to set the record of the first solo circumnavigator, but just loved the adventure. He was self deprecating throughout the book - he always gave credit to the ...more
I picked up Sailing Alone Around the World in the same Nook sale where I got Two Years Before the Mast. The connection is obvious - they're both nonfiction books about long sailing voyages, and very famous books too. Other than that, though, the books aren't really comparable, and I think Two Years Before the Mast is superior.

Joshua Slocum, the author of Sailing Alone Around the World, was the first man to circumnavigate the globe, and he did it in a small wooden sloop. He tells the story of tra
Mar 03, 2009 George rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title says it all. This is the true story of the American who decided to sail around the world by himself in a boat that he built. It takes place during the late 1800's, when steam was taking over commercial freight.

The journey is full of adventure and altruism. He runs from and shoots pirates, battles storms, avoids warships in hostile waters, dines with noblemen and women stationed or vacationing around the globe, and mixes with the locals in the south pacific. And he is usually welcomed
May 11, 2010 Leif rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: exploration
More than a century lies between Slocum's voyage and my reading of it, but I finished the book wanting more details. The sea is an endless fountain of tales of human folly and wit, but Slocum's rendering of his voyage sticks to just the facts. Here and there a rare window opens onto the soul of this remarkable tale from the sea, but more often than not I wanted to hear more about the sailing, about the storms, about the island paradises, and about the dolphins ! Slocum's brevity did make the boo ...more
Mar 19, 2016 Cheryl rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I expected something a little different, a book about "sailing alone", but it should be entitled, "sailing alone but stopping a dozen places and meeting thousands of people." I know it is a century old, but I struggle with finding the humor in the condescending and racist attitudes of the day. I was expecting more about the ocean and finding his way by sextant and chronometer; and what it felt to be so alone crossing the planet. But, it has value for history and it does have some entertaining bi ...more
Mar 17, 2015 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-ya
Public domain recording by Alan Chant. Slocum is a fine writer and storyteller (with the proviso that some of his attitudes toward native populations are pretty parochial), and Chant is a fine reader. I wanted to have a map in front of me to trace the author's course...but since I listened to this recording while taking long walks that proved impracticable. Listeners, get ready for a grand sea voyage!
Robert Delikat
Jan 26, 2011 Robert Delikat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A knowledge of sailing and and a map at hand might be helpful but not essential. While the author is a sailor by profession, the book is well written by any standard. The book moves along much faster than one might expect for a boat that only makes about 7 knots. While a journey around the world alone might not seem such a trivial matter, the author makes it almost seem so. The author must have had a great deal more to write than what is contained in this book. One has to wonder if the author ab ...more
Aug 15, 2016 Sharon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I gave it 5 stars in consideration of the time it was written. Again I love survival stories and true adventures. Definitely worth the read.
Natashajay Caribe
Nov 03, 2014 Natashajay Caribe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The most epic book written by the first person to sail solo around the world, in a time when people still believed the earth was flat.
Sep 16, 2010 Bob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My awesome family bought me a Nook e-book reader from B&N. This is one of the books they offer, and it looks to be interesting. I am going to never be without a book now! Stores tons of them...
This was a fascinating story, written by a life-long sailor with little schooling. Really interesting to hear his experiences. What most amazed me was his report from South Africa where a number of people, including a prominent politician, were ardent flat earth believers. They absolutely did not belie
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Sailing alone 6 47 Jan 11, 2015 01:36AM  
  • Gipsy Moth Circles the World
  • The Long Way
  • Kabloona
  • The Journals
  • Farthest North
  • Two Years Before the Mast: A Sailor's Life at Sea
  • The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst
  • A World of My Own: The first ever non-stop solo round the world voyage
  • The Home Of The Blizzard: A True Story Of Antarctic Survival
  • The Last Grain Race
  • Cooper's Creek
  • A Voyage for Madmen
  • The Incredible Voyage
  • Travels Into the Interior of Africa
  • Travels in Arabia Deserta, Volume 1
  • Travels in West Africa
  • No Picnic on Mount Kenya: A Daring Escape, A Perilous Climb
  • The Mountain of My Fear / Deborah: A Wilderness Narrative
Joshua Slocum was the first man to sail single-handedly around the world. He was a Nova Scotian born, naturalised American seaman and adventurer, and a noted writer. In 1900 he wrote a book about his journey 'Sailing Alone Around the World', which became an international best-seller. He disappeared in November 1909 while aboard his boat, the Spray.
More about Joshua Slocum...

Share This Book

“I had already found that it was not good to be alone, and so made companionship with what there was around me, sometimes with the universe and sometimes with my own insignificant self; but my books were always my friends, let fail all else.” 2836 likes
“Now, it it well known that one cannot step on a tack without saying something about it.” 13 likes
More quotes…