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The Voyage of the Roxane
by Keith Dawson
($25 Hard copy only)
On the 24th May 1937, the author’s twenty-fourth birthday, a small 26foot yacht left Auckland Harbour to commence a winter crossing of the stormy Tasman Sea to Australia. Along with Keith Dawson was his friend and the yacht’s co-owner, Dick Wellington, (later killed over Europe as a bomber navigator in World War II) and Les O’Brien, a young man who had never set foot on a small boat before but had answered an advertisement in the newspaper and paid twenty pounds for the passage to Sydney.
The Roxane was believed to be the smallest yacht at the time to receive Marine Department clearance to leave New Zealand waters, despite having no lifeboat or any of the aids regarded as essential for modern day ocean cruising. Pre-war yachting was very different to the sailing of today. The Roxane had no ship to shore radio, no satellite navigation system, no self steering gear, stainless steel winches, or inflatable life rafts. The yacht’s intended engine was a modified Austin 8 car engine that failed a day or so after the voyage began.
The Voyage of the Roxane is the tale of three young Kiwi adventurers who survived the odds and every storm that the Tasman Sea could throw at them to survive and complete their voyage relying on a combination of yachting skill and raw courage.
Keith Dawson, now an active 97 year old, who lives in Australia has from his diaries and the Roxane’s logbook told the whole story of this classic yachting adventure; proving that you are never too old to burst into print and become an author, and that a good adventure story is truly timeless.
|Roxane under sail||Harbour Stow in Sydney 1937
(Keith Dawson on far right)
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