The epic story of Robert Manry's transatlantic voyage
by Robert Manry
There is no dream so large that it can’t fit into a tiny boat… TINKERBELLE tells the real story about a man’s boyhood dream and how he made his dream come true. This is ROBERT MANRY’S inspiring tale of how he became enchanted with the notion of sailing the high seas, and how, years later, he set sail on a voyage that has fascinated sailors, adventurers, and dreamers, ever since. It is the gripping story of his 13½-foot sloop, Tinkerbelle—the smallest boat that had ever crossed the Atlantic nonstop. The son of missionary parents, Robert Manry was born 7,000 feet above sea level in the Himalayan Mountains and about as far away from the ocean as one could be in India. He was raised and schooled with his brother and sisters, in Landour, India, and it was there that a visiting German adventurer ignited his imagination with the idea of making an ocean voyage. Manry moved to the United States in 1937 to attend college, and after an interlude with the infantry in Europe, he received a degree in Political Science. He worked as a newspaper reporter in Ohio and Pennsylvania, and married in 1950. He and his wife, Virginia, relocated to Cleveland when he joined the staff of the Plain Dealer as a copy editor. Robert settled into a prototypical American post-war life, in a modest suburban tract house east of Cleveland. He commuted between home in Willowick and his evening work shift, and by all appearances, was just a “regular American guy” — happily married, with one daughter, one son, a dog, a cat, a car—and a little boat… Manry weaves the tale of how his dream was born, and describes the reasons for his voyage, finding a boat, learning to sail her, planning, fitting out, and finally, the thrilling adventure itself. Told with warmth, modesty, and humor, this engrossing story has inspired countless voyages since its original publication in 1966—an adventure born of youthful zeal, nurtured by desire, tempered by trial and error, and at last, fulfilled. The author departed from Falmouth, Massachusetts on 1 June 1965, bound for Falmouth, England, some 3,200 miles across the North Atlantic. Among his extraordinary experiences, he was awakened one morning by a submarine; swept overboard by broaching waves; tormented by weird hallucinations; challenged by gear failure and loneliness; received a feast from a passing ship captain, and was tracked down in mid-ocean by an enterprising journalist who cleverly “scooped” the story of his voyage from Manry’s own Plain Dealer colleagues. After 78 days, he made a joyous arrival in England, accompanied by an armada of small craft and thousands of cheering spectators. Begun as one man’s secret goal, Tinkerbelle’s voyage ended in a worldwide media frenzy that forever changed the lives of the story’s main participants. Triumphant in every way, the book remains an enduring treatise on how to accomplish what others dismiss as impossible, if not downright crazy. One of the great songs of the sea, Robert Manry’s tale has the alluring effect of happily persuading readers that they too could sail a small boat across the wide blue seas. More than that, TINKERBELLE provides a merry, make-it-happen road map of how anyone can achieve his or her dream’s desire. This extended e-book edition includes the original text—plus a gallery of restored photographs, the logbook of Tinkerbelle’s voyage, an afterword, a new portrait of Robert by his son, and a link to dozens of Robert Manry’s previously unpublished photographs.
- BookBaby, March 2012
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