Round Trip To New York

NEW YORK AND NEW PLANS The clear strong voice which had hailed me as I approached New York belonged to Captain Jim Percy, Senior Captain of BOAC, and I had last heard it at a meeting of the Court of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators. Jim had been asked by the Grand Master, Prince Philip, and the Master, K. G. Bergin, to welcome me on reaching New York. He donned his full robes of a Warden, together with the broad squashed cap, and we were photographed shaking hands. Someone had presented me with two brandies and sodas, and I thought it was because of them that I hit the doorway a solid thump when I tried to pass through it; actually, I had lost my sense of balance, and I realised then that I had lost it at sea days before, which explained why I had difficulty in doing any job which required two hands while standing up.

Bubbling with an excitement which could never be recaptured I went off with Sheila to her room in the New York Hotel, where Chris Brasher turned up with a marvellous feast. This was at 2 a.m. and I started to enjoy it, but Sheila and I both fell asleep in the middle, and Chris tiptoed out.

Round Trip To New York Photo Gallery



Hasler came in eight days later, and Lewis was third, seven and a half days after Hasler. Howells, the black-bearded Viking, arrived sixty-three days after the start. His route was nearly a great circle till past the Azores, and from there he sailed to Bermuda, where he put in to have his watch repaired. Jean Lacombe in the small yacht Cap Horn started five days after the rest of us, and arrived on 24 August. Sheila and I met him being towed in as we were leaving for Plymouth.

I lost 10 lbs during the race, because, I think, of the big physical effort. Blondie, who said that he had done no work at all with his big Chinese sail, also lost 10 lbs, Lewis lost 20 lbs and Howells 18 lbs.

During my race I wrote 50,000 words of log, which were formed into a book entitled, Alone Across the Atlantic. Every day I used to look forward to writing in my blue book after breakfast, when I had come through another night and was feeling rather pleased and optimistic, with the next night out of thought. I used to imagine that I was talking to Sheila or a friend, and I think it kept me from being lonely. Chris and I spent ninety minutes on the transatlantic telephone one day, sending through an extract from this log for The Observer.

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