August 15, 2007 By Tania Aebi
By Tania Aebi
In May 1985, when Tania was only 18 years old, she cast off from the docks of South Street Seaport in lower Manhattan and sailed 27,000 miles around the world, alone, on her 26-foot sloop, Varuna. Concerned about her lack of ambition, her Swiss-German father had offered her this opportunity as an alternative to a college education, and she took him up on it. For the next two and a half years, with only a cat for company, she crossed the Caribbean, the South Pacific and Indian Oceans, the Red Sea, the Mediterranean, and the North Atlantic, stopping in 23 countries along the way.
|When Tania arrived home to New York in 1987, completing her solo circumnavigation and becoming the youngest woman in the world ever to do so, her final Atlantic crossing was so long and challenging that the national newspapers had begun to report that she’d been lost at sea.|
She sailed through storms and calms, gathering stories, friendships, inspirational examples, and maturity along the way. She also learned a lot about setting a larger-than-life goal and being committed to following it through despite mechanical breakdowns, the death of her mother, loneliness, doubt, and fear. In November 1987, just barely 21, Tania stepped back onto the cement shores of New York City, a solo-circumnavigator.
She spent the year after her return reliving the trip in words, writing her bestselling book, Maiden Voyage, the personal account that synthesized her modern-day odyssey and the dramatic childhood leading up to it.
Tania now lives and participates in a small-town rural life, where she is mother to two boys – Nicholas is 16, Sam is 13 – caretaker of a house and 32 acres, gardens, eight chickens and the cat who sailed with her; Tarzoon is now 21 years old and still going. Their father and her ex-husband, the man she met on her circumnavigation, lives two miles up the road and they’re raising their two boys together.
|Tania’s Vermont house is pretty self-sufficient
-- with gardens, and chickens – and about as land-locked as you can get!
|Tania and Nicholas at home in Vermont, with an impressive haul of morel mushrooms..|
|Tarzoon, Tania’s only company on her circumnavigation – is still going strong.|
Over the past 12 years, between lecturing, earning her captain's license, going back to school and earning her BA and MFA, she’s also been managing and renovating properties, leading learn-to-sail 10-day flotillas in different countries around the world, and writing a monthly column for Latitudes and Attitudes, a popular sailing magazine