Cape Horn Birthday documents the extraordinary non-stop round-the-world circumnavigation of a lone sailor and his thirty-two-foot sloop. GPS did not exist when Peter Freeman set sail from Victoria, British Columbia, in 1984. Peter navigated the old-fashioned way, with a compass, a sextant, books of tables, and his wits. Along the way, he had to rebuild the self-steering rudder, repair torn sails, and fix broken gear.
Peter encountered a severe lightning storm, snow, and hailstorms as he sailed as close to the Antarctic ice as he dared. Near Île Kerguélen in the South Indian Ocean, Laiviņa almost rolled over in a violent storm. While the little sloop was inverted, Peter was under water, helplessly tied to the pushpit rails holding his breath as he waited for the sturdy little craft to right herself.
Along the New Zealand coastline, Peter joined in a race and took line honours for the Overseas Entry Class before crossing the Pacific back to Victoria, British Columbia. Upon arrival, Peter was greeted with the news that he had broken the existing world record.
Five Star Reviews
A must-read for both sailors and armchair adventurers — Many of us dream of accomplishing the one big adventure, doing the one big expedition, but very, very few of us actually do it. Peter Freeman is the exception. When he found himself with both the requisite experience and the right circumstance, he didn’t hesitate, he acted. In a time before sophisticated navigation aids like GPS and AIS, in a time long before social media was even dreamed of, Peter planned and carried out his dream of sailing around the world solo, non-stop. All the more remarkable, he did it on a shoestring budget, not with a purpose built boat, not supported by any sponsor, not for the glory or the publicity, but because it was a personal challenge. Here is a story of careful planning and solid execution but also of perseverance, ingenuity and courage. Peter carries us along with a day by day account of the highs and the lows, the joys and the frustrations, the triumphs and the setbacks, the monotony and the terror. We are with him every hard-fought mile. This is a gripping account of a journey we all wish we had made and an inspiration for us to go out and realize our own dreams. It is a must-read for sailors ad armchair adventurers alike. — Alex Zimmerman
There are some exciting moments like the capsize in the Southern Ocean — “Oh no, not another sailing book!” Well, this is not just another one of those although one might be fooled by the title. There are some exciting moments like the capsize in the Southern Ocean, or when Peter climbed the mast in a force 10 just so he could try to get a more accurate measure of those enormous waves. “ No, no, get down!”we scream, and disturb those around us. We participate a lot in this book, even grow exhausted by endless sail repairs, but then are really interested in how he manufactures new grommets or creates more thread for his sewing machine. Peter drives himself and his 32 foot boat hard, surfing, when the ‘sensible’ might slow down. What appealed to me was his accurate day to day portrait of himself splashing around the world. We get to know the author, get to sail along with him. An amazing feat and a very good read. — Clive W. Gardam
Move Over Forrest Gump — After I deduced that the author was writing about a voyage he undertook many years earlier, I had to check whether his name wasn’t Forrest Gump. I mean a solo, unassisted circumnavigation rounding capes Horn, Good Hope and Leeuwin! Who does that?
Yet this previously unknown sailor did, in a self-built boat, in the days of the sextant. This book should have wide appeal, from lovers of sailing and the sea, adventure, curmudgeons, loners, self-flagellators, sailmakers to bakers. The sailing feat is definitely on par with those more remarkable voyages of recent history. — Terry
Recommended read for anyone who loves books about ordinary people taking on life changing adventures — I highly recommend this book for any sailor, wannabe sailor, or anyone interested in people taking on life changing adventures. The author sweeps you up in his adventure and takes you around the world with him. Even though it is structured as daily log entries, it reads like a novel. A well written page turner of a novel. I thoroughly enjoyed it. — Greg Taylor
Freeman’s writing style — Peter’s delightful writing style draws you into the details of his amazing and sometimes harrowing journey. You feel his emotions as his trusty little sailboat circumnavigates a difficult, yet stunning track to parts of the world many of us will never see in person. A fabulous read. And you don’t have to be a sailor to find yourself diving right in. You may find yourself longing for a wild adventure of your own, however. — Susan Gordon
Combining personal interest with technical — Cape Horn Birthday combines the personal interest with the technical details. The rolling over of the tiny vessel during a Kerguelen Isle storm was gripping and terrifying. As well, the occasional human interaction amplified the isolation a single-handed sailor encounters when completing an unusual journey. This book is a compelling read. — M. E. F.
A fantastic read! — Freeman’s attention to detail in the planning and prep for his voyage show through in the remarkable story he recounts. Even with all his planning the seas showed how formidable they can be and I was pulled deeper and deeper into his story as he met each challenge head on like a seafaring MacGyver. A fantastic read! — A. C.
A candid recounting — Freeman recounts candidly his experience of both the external and internal challenges he faced on this epic voyage. From the minutiae of daily activities necessary to keep his boat pushing onward to the harrowing moments he faced in the roaring forties and furious fifties. — David Garrett
Cape Horn Birthday — a wonderful achievement by an Australian adventurer who grabs challenges by the throat. Well written and an exciting read. I am looking forward to reading more books from this talented author. — Don Reed
Riveting Read — We are so enjoying reading Peter’s wonderful book about his ‘round the world adventure. It’s an amazing story, told in superb detail with fabulous photos. A great addition to our home library. — IslandGal
A fantastic account of an epic voyage — An interesting and inspiring tale…..but not so much that I’d plan to try this voyage myself. Wow. What a feat!! —Drew Stotesbury
Riveting Read — Riveting, this story is a fact-filled look into an amazing adventure and experience of a lifetime. — Doug Wahlsten
Five Stars — Great read, would highly recommend it! — Berit