G386MT Joshua Slocum rows the 'Spray' out of Melbourne harbour, in the course of his solo circumnavigation Date: 1896
Joshua Slocum rows the 'Spray' out of Melbourne harbour in the course of his solo circumnavigation © Chronicle/Alamy

Sir, In “ Land of hope and hubris” (Life & Arts, February 3), James Marsh mentions the “first solo navigation around the world” of Francis Chichester in 1967. However, the naturalised American Joshua Slocum did likewise in the 37ft sloop Spray, returning to Newport, Rhode Island, US on June 27 1898, more than three years after he set sail from Boston.

The next year he published an account of his voyage, Sailing Alone Around the World.

In 1909, Slocum set out again alone, bound for the Orinoco River in South America. He and the Spray were never seen again and no clue to his fate was ever found.

Philip Ogram
Virginia Beach, VA, US

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