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Brendan Voyage

Brendan Voyage

Sailing to America in a Leather Boat to Prove the Legend of the Irish Sailor Saints

Modern Library Exploration
by Tim Severin
Publisher: Modern Library
Trade Paperback, 304 pages
Price: $19.00

Could an Irish monk in the sixth century really have sailed all the way across the Atlantic in a small open boat, thus beating Columbus to the New World by almost a thousand years? Relying on the medieval text of St. Brendan, award-winning adventure writer Tim Severin painstakingly researched and built a boat identical to the leather curragh that carried Brendan on his epic voyage. He found a centuries-old, family-run tannery to prepare the ox hides in the medieval way; he undertook an exhaustive search for skilled harness makers (the only people who would know how to stitch the three-quarter-inch-thick hides together); he located one of the last pieces of Irish-grown timber tall enough to make the mainmast. But his courage and resourcefulness were truly tested on the open seas, including one heart-pounding episode when he and his crew repaired a dangerous tear in the leather hull by hanging over the side—their heads sometimes submerged under the freezing waves—to restitch the leather.

A modern classic in the tradition of Kon-Tiki, The Brendan Voyage seamlessly blends high adventure and historical relevance. It has been translated into twenty-seven languages since its original publication in 1978.

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FLAWS: Dangerous situations
Summary: A small crew take a small boat from Ireland to the New World to see if St. Brendan could have done the same thing in the sixth century.

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