The Forum

Discover world history, culture and ideas with today’s leading experts


Sailing by the stars: The pioneering voyages of David Lewis

David Lewis was of one of the most remarkable nautical explorers of modern times. In the mid-1960s, he took his wife and two small daughters - who were less than five years old - on a sailing trip around the world in a small catamaran. What is more, for one part of the journey, he rejected standard 20th-Century navigational equipment and relied on much older methods of finding his way across the Pacific. In fact, it was his lifelong goal to prove that ancient seafaring methods were still valuable and his research helped revive ancient Polynesian navigation methods. In his more than eventful life, he also wrote a dozen books, practised as a GP in London’s East End and tackled many unclimbed peaks as a mountaineer. And he undertook hazardous trips to the Antarctic including one in which he was presumed dead. Rajan Datar is joined by David’s son Barry, who is also an accomplished sailor and who accompanied David on some of his seminal voyages; Dr. Christina Thompson, the editor of Harvard Review and the author of Sea People: The Puzzle of Polynesia; and Ben Lowings, a yachtsman, BBC journalist and the author of David Lewis's biography entitled The Dolphin. [Photo: David Lewis sets out on his 1972 trip to the Antarctic in his 32-foot sloop Ice Bird. Credit: George Lipman; Stuart William MacGladrie/Fairfax Media/Getty Images]


 2021-08-12  39m