Captain Joshua Slocum

Map of the world in 1895 when Captain Joshua Slocum circumnavigated the globe.

In 1895, Captain Joshua Slocum set sail on a 37-foot rebuilt sloop named Spray. The destination? The world.

A maritime legend, Captain Slocum was the first person to single-handedly circumnavigate the globe. His historic achievements and fascinating life are the subjects of a new biography by author Stan Grayson, as well as an exhibition at the New Bedford Whaling Museum in Massachusetts.

The exhibition The Spray Will Come Back: Solo Circumnavigator Captain Joshua Slocum is based on Grayson’s recently released biography A Man for All Oceans: Captain Joshua Slocum and the First Solo Voyage Around the World.

Together, the book and exhibition reveal Slocum’s life story more in-depth than ever before.

Slocum set out from Boston in 1895 aboard his sloop Spray. When he finally ghosted into Newport, Rhode Island, three years and 46,000 miles later, he sailed straight into history.

In A Man for All Oceans, Grayson gives readers new insights that fill some gaps in Slocum’s life and voyages and provides answers to long-standing questions about Slocum, who despite his celebrity status in the early 20th century, remained a mysterious figure.

Back in 1895, sailing for pleasure was a largely nonexistent concept. Slocum’s voyage around the globe dramatically changed people’s perceptions about boating.

Slocum published an account of his great sea adventure in the international best seller Sailing Alone Around the World, which has been continuously in print since 1900. Slocum told of his voyage’s perils and its pleasures. At one time, Slocum was among the most famous people in America. Yet in the book and in the years following its publication, Slocum revealed few personal details about his adventurous, tumultuous and sometimes violent life.

Throughout his sailing career, he acknowledged his good fortune as “Slocum’s luck,” but in 1909, the captain and his beloved Spray vanished at sea. On November 14th, at age 65, he’d set out on another lone voyage to South America, leaving from Vineyard Haven on Martha’s Vineyard, but was never heard from again.

Now Grayson’s A Man for All Oceans and the museum’s exhibition The Spray Will Come Back bring the man and his sloop to life once again.

Learn more about Captain Slocum at or call (508) 997-0046.


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