Much has been written about Joshua Slocum’s last voyage, and his mysterious disappearance.
Arthur Ransom believed that the Spray was probably cut down at night in a shipping lane. An alternative theory holds that her captain simply fell off the fore deck in a storm….while she kept sailing unerringly towards the sunrise. Other pundits suggest that a giant swordfish might have skewered a garboard plank – and again, that the little ship was swamped by a hump-backed whale, surfacing without due care.
All these theories are plausible – but I think they fall wide of the mark.
To my mind, there is no mystery: Joshua Slocum sailed away and never came back. That is all. He had his beloved Spray as companion; no doubt he carried below deck the old tin clock, freshly-boiled; his knowledge of sea and sky and everything in between was immense – and the Pilot of the Pinta would have been keeping night watch, as the captain slept. Why not sail on?
For all we know, he may be sailing still….