Deceased , Historic




1941 - 2023

In 1987, Teddy Seymour was officially designated the first black man to sail around the world when he completed his solo sailing circumnavigation via the canals in Frederiksted, St. Croix, of the United States Virgin Islands. Seymour was a Golden Circle Award recipient, by the Joshua Slocum Society. He was awarded Lifetime Membership with the Joshua Slocum Society, and the Virgin Islands Legislature enacted a resolution to preserve his contribution into Virgin Islands maritime history.

Teddy Seymour was the first Black man to complete a single-handed circumnavigation of the world via the Suez and Panama Canals on June 19, 1987, becoming the 161st person to do so. Seymour was born in Yonkers, New York, in 1941, and was fascinated with the Hudson River from a young age, leading him to build a raft and drift down the river at the age of 13. Seymour received a track and field scholarship to Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, but joined the Marines after graduation and served for seven years, including in Vietnam, before resigning honorably as a Captain. After leaving the Marines, Seymour learned to sail in Newport Beach and lived aboard a small Columbia for almost five years before purchasing Love Song, a 35’ Ericson Mark I Sloop, which he used to sail to the Panama Canal to take a job as an elementary school teacher in St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands.

Seymour spent seven years preparing for his trip around the world, reinforcing the production boat’s hull and rigging, and planning his route. He ended up making twelve stops on his Westward route from St. Croix after being warned by the US Counsel to avoid South Africa. Seymour’s reason for sailing around the world was to simply do it, and he completed the voyage for less than $6,000.

On April 11, 2023 Teddy Seymour passed away. Read his obituary here.

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