Skip to main content

Curtin launches Jon Sanders’ triple circumnavigation collection

Media release

The log books of WA yachting legend Jon Sanders are now available online.

Curtin University Library’s website now hosts five log books chronicling Sanders’ triple circumnavigation in the yacht Parry Endeavour between May 1986 and March 1988. The record-breaking voyage was solo and non-stop.

Project Endeavour: Jon Sanders’ Triple Circumnavigation of the World Collection was launched at Curtin recently.

The collection also includes photographs, correspondence, scrap books, designs and drawings of Sanders’ yacht, scientific results and logs, charts, maps, minutes of the Project Endeavour working party, sound recordings and film footage taken by Mr Sanders during his voyage.

Mr Sanders said there had always been strong community interest in his voyages and hoped his log books would provide some guidance and insight for future solo yachtsman.

At the launch, Mr Sanders spoke about some of the highlights from his journey.

“There was a freak occurrence that happened on the Indian Ocean and the wind was blowing about 30 knots. I was lying down and somehow the boat fell into a trough, a hole or something and suddenly I was standing on my boat,” Mr Sanders said.

 “The boat was so well designed that after months and months of sailing, I lifted the floorboards and there was dust. There were no leaks anywhere, it was bone dry.

“After all the calms and fickle winds, after all the tempestuous gales and 658 days at sea, you can imagine my moment when I stood on the cockpit ladders step and looked forward as I have done so often before and there dead ahead of the yacht was the Rottnest Island Lighthouse. Home, once more.”

Curtin Library Archives Manager, Lesley Wallace, said the five hand-written log books provided a fascinating insight into the life of the solo yachtsman on his 658-day journey.

“He wrote about everyday life on the yacht and details repairs, navigation and issues as they arose,” Ms Wallace said.

“For example, when Sanders’ yacht was hit by a trawler in the South Atlantic his log records: ‘20:35 – AWFUL! Collided with foreign squid boat, about 4,000 tons. Broke forestay (starboard), but port forestay appears to be okay’.

 “From the collection, people can get a flavour of what it’s like to undertake such a solo journey.”

Part of the collection was donated to Curtin by Emeritus Professor John Penrose from Curtin’s Centre for Marine Science and Technology (CMST) in 2007. Professor Penrose also officially launched the collection yesterday.

The Centre was heavily involved in the voyage and developed the scientific package used by Mr Sanders to measure sea surface temperatures, log wildlife sightings and record bathymetric measurements.

Professor Penrose said the key aim of Project Endeavour was to draw international attention to the pioneering role of Captain James Cook in ocean navigation and science by advancing the scientific research Cook began and by emulating his navigational achievements.

“In the first circumnavigation, Mr Sanders was probing ocean beds that have never been charted before. These depth-sounding reading were transferred to a waiting boat from Curtin when he sailed past Fremantle at the end of the first circumnavigation,” Professor Penrose said.

“On his second circumnavigation, Sanders recorded depth soundings that confirmed the discovery of a major seamount, a core objective of the scientific research undertaken on the voyage. These depth sounding charts have also been digitised for access.”

The collection can be found at http://john.curtin.edu.au/endeavour/