Jesse Martin was destined for adventure. Born in Munich in 1981 whilst his parents were travelling through Europe in a kombi van, he spent his early years in the beautiful Daintree Rainforest of North Queensland. By the time he was 14 he had sailed a thousand kilometres along Australia's tropical coast on a flimsy catamaran and had trekked through south-east Asia and the Aboriginal communities of Central Australia. At 16 he kayaked through remote islands of Papau New Guinea and then crewed on a yacht that sailed from the Central American country of Belize to Tahiti. In 1998 at the age of 17, Jesse set off from Melbourne on a solo sail around the world. The rest is history.
Gr 8 Up-In 1999, Martin sailed around the world solo and unassisted. In a 34-foot yacht named Lionheart, the 17-year-old Australian used no fossil fuels, received no supplies or visitors, and never stepped off the boat for the entire 10-month trip. His narrative is conversational in tone and unsparingly honest, revealing his insecurities as well as a quick wit. Restless and bored by school, he found that sailing became an obsession that intensified after some short excursions with family and friends. Martin wasn't deterred by the complexity or expense of a trip of this magnitude and he was resourceful in finding sponsors and sailing mentors. Remarkably, his mother mortgaged her house to help buy his boat. Once he set sail, the text changes to diary format and chronicles an unpredictable sea, loneliness and isolation, a troublesome leak, and near collisions with large ships. A map plots significant events such as a whale encounter, a force 10 storm, and the spot where he spent his 18th birthday. Solar panels and telephone and e-mail access remind readers that the author is a new breed of sailor, but his story is inspirational nonetheless. The narrative form is simple, and the book hits all the marks for scope, teen appeal, and emotion. Young adults will be heartened by Martin's message that even an ordinary kid can follow his dream.-Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.