Stock code RB0646
Author Penny Minney
Publisher Taniwha Press UK
Edition date 2017
Publication details A5, Paperback
Malta to Istanbul in an Open Boat
In the wake of the tales of George Millar in Isabel and the Sea and Ernle Bradford in The Journeying Moon sailing through the Mediterranean after World War II comes Penny Minney’s Crab’s Odyssey recounting the adventures of a group of undergraduates sailing a 17-foot ship’s lifeboat from Malta to Istanbul in the 1950’s.
It began with the shipwreck of the ferry taking them to join their newly purchased boat on Malta, and ended with them finding an authoritative Ancient Greek historian wrong about the Bosporus passage. In the 1950s, two ordinary second-year students at Somerville College Oxford and their assorted crews sailed more than 1,500 miles in an open boat over four summers.
Joining them at different junctures was a medley of fellow-sailors. To pick up crew at a pre-arranged rendezvous at fortnightly intervals was a juggling act that for one crew member took three nights, eight trains and a ferry. But they only mislaid one – and in the search came close to losing the skipper.
There were no plans for a journey to Istanbul at the outset, but the further they sailed, the more their ambitions grew. There were six major crossings – often with non-stop baling – and much coast-hopping. Tensions on board, unexpected gifts and encounters, and an unexpected proposal: the book vividly recalls a Mediterranean Europe emerging from WWII.
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