Daring the Sea: The True Story of the First Men to Row Across the Atlantic Ocean

David W. Shaw, Author, Christopher Ed. Shaw, Author
David W. Shaw, Author, Christopher Ed. Shaw, Author Citadel Press $19.95 (208p) ISBN 978-1-55972-460-9
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 01/01/1998
Norwegian immigrants George Harbo and Frank Samuelson found that life in America toward the end of the 19th century did not lead to riches; rather they learned that it was a struggle to survive as fishermen and clam diggers off the New Jersey coast. Thus in 1896 they determined to utilize their experience and skills as seamen to row across the Atlantic. They secured the lukewarm backing of Richard Fox, editor of the Police Gazette, who was always on the lookout for unusual stories, and set out from New York Harbor on June 6, bound for Le Havre, France. This account of their voyage, based in part on Harbo's journal, is a stirring adventure story, as the pair in their 18-foot-long craft narrowly escaped being hit by other ships, threaded their way through a school of whales, missed an iceberg and encountered severe storms with mountainous waves, one of which capsized them and dumped part of their meager food supply. Finally, after 55 days they arrived at Britain's Scilly Islands. Although they received considerable publicity, the public saw their achievement as a stunt. Returning to America they picked up their lives, married, had children and enjoyed some prosperity working on the sea. Harbo died in 1908, Samuelson in 1911. Readers who enjoy tales of humans pitted against the elements will find this work by freelancer Shaw thrilling. Photos not seen by PW. (June)
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