Most budget-bound Americans merely dream of building a boat and sailing away from it all. Don Lewis, a Detroit draftsman, and Bill Reekstin, a Tampa toolmaker, did it. Old Army friends, they pooled their money and built a 24-foot sloop. "It was an ugly little tub," says Reekstin, "but practical for the trip we wanted to make." Then they set off for 10,000 miles of sailing and eight months of high adventure.
"Bill did the navigating until I learned something about it," says Lewis, who had never been to sea before. "And that took some time. I was seasick for the first 2,000 miles." They sailed first to Bermuda, then northward on the prevailing winds to Boston, then across the Atlantic to the Azores, south to the Canary Islands and Africa, then home to Tampa by way of the Caribbean.
En route the voyagers weathered a gale off the Grand Banks, were nearly run over by a freighter during a fog, endured weeks of flat calm and were almost swamped by a huge wave off Jamaica. But they made port safely at last. And now—"I'd go again any time," says Lewis. His partner? "I've found my Shangri-La in the Windward Islands," says Bill Reekstin, "and someday I'm going to go back."