An Ocean to Cross

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The Book of the Week is “An Ocean to Cross, Daring the Atlantic, Claiming A New Life” by Liz Fordred with Susie Blackmun, published in 2001.

The author was born in 1953 in Southern Rhodesia. By the late 1970’s, she and her husband were both wheelchair-bound, due to a horseback-riding accident and an auto accident, respectively. Gluttons for punishment that they were, they decided to pursue the husband’s idea of building a boat with their personal hands, customized for them, and sailing it across the Atlantic Ocean. Many people who cast doubt on their dream had no clue how persistent, creative and resourceful this couple was.

The two were able to cut through some bureaucratic red tape in their home country because there were so few people of fair skin, including them and their then-leader, Ian Smith. But they encountered numerous delays for various reasons, including lack of money, lack of experience in boat-building and sailing, and government regulations. Their native Rhodesia was in the midst of political turmoil, and they needed sailing-practice in a challenging geographic location.

So they moved their craft to the South African coast, where they had to deal with South African customs, and submit a mountain of paperwork for various other reasons, including financing their boat-construction and supplies through: a bank loan, getting articles on their story published, and attracting sponsors. A series of guardian angels provided assistance through the whole laborious process.

Of course, they underestimated how much the entire project would cost and how long it would take; just one example– they allocated four days, with the help of family and friends, to drive their multiple vehicles to transport the boat (which was still a work in progress) to the Royal Cape Yacht Club in Cape Town South Africa, their launching place. Read the book to learn about: how long it really took, the details of their whole ordeal, and their learning-experiences and growth; from start to finish.