Lin & Larry Pardey

August 1, 1944 & October 31, 1939July 27, 2020

Detroit, Michigan / Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Lin and Larry Pardey lived the life many sailors aspire to. They circumnavigated the globe two times on boats that they built with their own hands. Larry did most of the boat building while Lin was the writer. Their enviable relationship worked. The boats, “Seraffyn” and “Taleisin” were both wooden boats and were under 30 feet in overall length. Neither boat had an engine. It is a remarkable story. They shared their adventures with many thousands of sailors by publishing 12 books, giving hundreds of lectures and producing instructional films. The Pardeys were popular anywhere they made an appearance. Their talks were laced with important tips on how to cruise efficiently. The couple were engaging and made their maritime adventures fun. In fact, Herb McCormick wrote a book about the Pardeys in 2014 and titled the volume, “As Long As It’s Fun.” They couple’s stories also include humor. At home in California they once had a pet cat that they named, “Dog.”

Adding to the storyline they circled the globe in the opposite direction of the prevailing wind. Few sailors have rounded Cape Horn to starboard. They were brutally honest about their voyages and talked about mistakes, bad weather, the pressure of making financial decisions and dealing with endless problems any cruising sailor can relate to. Lin tells the story that none of her neighbors from Bull Canyon where the Pardeys spent four years building “Taleisin” showed up for the launch of their new boat. A big crowd of sailors were on hand. When Lin said she was going to miss the canyon her mother said, “No you won’t. This right here is your world. Bull Canyon is just one more foreign land you visited.”

Herb McCormick writes in his book on the Pardeys that they were at sea during “monumental, once-in-a-generation storms.” During their stop overs they were present for major international events. They were in South Africa when Nelson Mandela was elected and they were in Poland for the end of the cold war. When asked about their nicest passage, McCormick reports, “Their near mystical 2,500 mile voyage from Mexico to the Marquesas Islands. Not only was the sailing spectacular but, the trip was memorable by a pair of encounters with denizens of the deep, ones that could only be experienced by small-boat sailors.”

Larry Pardey died at the age of 80 following a stroke a year earlier and after suffering with Parkinson’s disease. During his life Larry and Lin spent eleven years visiting 47 countries on their first circumnavigation. The second voyage around the world lasted 25 years and they visited another 30 countries according to an obituary by Richard Sandomir that appeared in the New York Times (August 28, 2000).

~Gary Jobson

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