Sailing to the Reefs
Perhaps the title of this book, Bernard Moitessier's first, should have been "Sailing on the Reefs'--for that is exactly what he did, almost unbelievably, twice. After finding his beloved Marie-Thérèse, a beautiful junk in the Gulf of Siam, he set off across the Indian Ocean for Africa and eventually the Caribbean. Eighty days or so into the trip, Moitessier and Marie-Thérèse found themselves on the reef at Diego Garcia.
It took Moitessier just nine months to build Marie-Thérèse II from scratch in Mauritius with no boat plans or power tools. From her launch he sailed her down to South Africa. His observations during a stay of almost two years are as interesting as the people he met and the innovative boat improvements he came up with. Unfortunately, he and Marie-Thérèse II managed to end up on the rocks near St. Vincent in the Caribbean.
In between these two heartbreaking disasters is a tale of courage, resourcefulness, and creativity. It is told with refreshing honesty, in which Moitessier, still really an apprentice sailor, admits his blunders. And it is told with marvelous humor.