The Aegre Voyage: Chapter 11 Notes

Chapter 11 of the book, The Voyage of The Aegre, is all about the TransAtlantic passage.

At sea on a small yacht
Servicing the self steering system at speed under the squaresail in the NE Trades

Departing from the Canary Islands, we headed southwest to pick up the NE Trade Wind, then headed west to make a landfall on Barbados, 44 days later.

Map of the Atlantic Ocean
The approximate course of The Aegre from the Canary Islands to Barbados West Indies

Being a little early in the season, the Trade Wind was fickle, and over the passage we had a mixture of strong following winds and head winds, and complete calm. For the full story of how the squaresail performed, later being becalmed in the path of supertankers, and how we fared on this longest passage so far, see the book. But here are a few extra photos we couldn’t include.

When writing the book, long after making this passage, I thought about the many early voyagers in small boats who had crossed these same waters. Some are well known; Slocum, E F Knight and so on, but others less so. For instance in 1880, Italians Vincenzo Fondacaro from Bagnara Calabra, along with Orlando Grassoni from Ancona and Pietro Troccoli from Camerota, who had all emigrated to Uruguay, completed an amazing Atlantic crossing, inspired by a deep love of their country. They built and sailed a 10 metre flush decked schooner, Il Leone di Caprera, from Montevideo to the Canary Islands, then on into the Mediterranean aiming for Italy, but ran out of money in Malaga, Southern Spain. It’s an epic story of individual determination, Italian nationalism, and instutional rivalry and disinterest, that continues today.

Schooner Il Leone di Caprara
Il Leone di Caprara on the Studio Faggioni Yacht Design website

There’s an interesting summary of the story on the website of Studio Faggioni Yacht Design who were involved in the restoration of the vessel.

The Course of Il Leone di Caprara from Montevideo to Italy
The Course of Il Leone di Caprara from Montevideo to Italy

I learnt about it all when I came across the partially restored schooner and the story in Milan’s Science and Technolgy Museum (Museo Nazionale Scienza e Technologia Leonardon Da Vinci) in 2018. However searchng online (in 2024) it doesn’t seem to be there anymore. Back in 2018 I took a few photos of the vessel and the display:

Online the story of thge voyage and the restoration seems best told in the links below.

Sorry, that’s nothing to do with The Aegre voyage, but for lovers of sea stories I think it’s interesting, and little known outside Italy. I found it remarkable to see the boat built in 1890 and still in an apparently largely unrestored state, despite the restoration efforts detailed in the above links, as shown in my photos.

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