by Ben Carlin
7th July 2009
Kath of nb Bobcat read my book review of Gerard Morgan - Grenville's 1970’s account of Barging into
It's not hard to build a small boat capable of going around the world on water, nor is it hard to find a car capable of going round the world on land, but it is near impossible to build a vehicle which is capable of sustained travel in both environments. Consider the recent Top Gear attempt to re-stage the automotive walking on water miracle.
Way back in 1946 Ben Carlin became obsessed with the idea that this feat was possible in a wartime jeep, an experimental craft which was labelled an unmitigated disaster after most of the 5000 units built disappeared beneath the waves a few minutes after launch. Carlin was a man undaunted by such obstacles and invested all his money and eleven years of his life (eight travelling) to realise his ambition. Perhaps the most amazing thing is that he managed to find a woman (Elinore) willing to marry him and accompany him as far as
If you think the sailing of a narrowboat across to
The unforgiving environment and low technology resulted in three open heart cylinder head removal operations in the first month at sea.
The book is no literary classic, but the adventure it describes is a man sized human endeavour tale up there with the Thor Hyadal’s exploits in Ra and Kon-Tiki. If it wasn’t for the photos I wouldn’t believe it was true.
One glance at the map will tell you that they made it all the way to
I have cheated, I looked on the internet and discovered that the full circumnavigation was eventually achieved, but the second book wasn't published till after his death in 1981.
The likes of Ben Carlin offer a rich splash of colour in an otherwise monotone world and the story of his adventure deserves to live on. I was sent the book on the understanding that it should be placed with another boater with a similar passion for watery stories, so here is the deal:
1. If you would like to read this antique tome, let me know and I will post it to you - on the strict understanding that you add your name to the list and place it in the hands of another reader with similar interests.
2. Unearthing a copy of its sequel “The Other Half of Half-Safe” is like finding hens teeth. If you have a copy lurking in your collection please lend it to me – I will gladly pay the postage and credit you in my subsequent review.