1956 – Circumnavigation of Africa

The following pictures are reproduced from Ben Lovegrove’s website, dedicated to his father Jim – one of Tilman’s earliest crews on Mischief. 


An ‘unintended’ circumnavigation of Africa.


Mike Clay (to Durban)
Jim Lovegrove (to Gibralter)
Gerry Levick
Pat Green (to Cape Town)
Howard Davies (to Durban)
Allen Jolly (Cape Town to Durban)
David Smith, Douglas Moore and Ian Sibbald (Durban to Lymington)

“In 1957 when Mischief’s voyages were little known I had few applicants and consequently some difficulty in finding crew. I have no record and do not remember how I collected the crew for this voyage, but I do not think I resorted to advertising as I did for the later more successful voyage. For that I had to put an advertisement in the Personal Column of The Times: ‘Hand (man) wanted for long voyage in small boat. No pay, no prospects, not much pleasure.’  I remember, however, that Mike Clay applied for a place when I gave a lecture at Cambridge where he was studying geography. He was a climber not a sailor. Jim Lovegrove, who lived in the same county as I did, must have been listening to the Welsh jungle drums. He was an artist who could turn his hand to many things, including wood carving. He carved a very handsome name-board for Mischief’s counter. Having had some experience in Thames sailing barges he knew how to handle heavy gear. I was a bit dubious about taking him, and indeed felt like a wrecker of homes, because he was a married man with a small infant and another on the way. As we were to be away a year I thought it pretty callous both on his part and mine.”

“The albatross were just as interested in us as we were in them. Having watched us go by they would take off again in their clumsy way, flapping their great wings and pedalling hard with  their feet, fly ahead of us and alight in order to have yet another good look at Mischief. If we were becalmed a small flock of them would gather round, more out of curiosity than in expectation of food. We tried floating potatoes out to them on a bit of board but they were not amused. When a shark appeared, we were surprised that it took no notice of these sitting albatross, for it would have had no difficulty in hoisting in one or two to make a juicy and satisfying meal. Perhaps feathers are too indigestible even for a shark. Anyhow this unfortunate shark paid for its indifference as to what was going on. Jim harpooned it and after a brief struggle we got him on board. He was only about 6 feet long and his small teeth did not look very formidable. We ate it, and except that there were no bones it was quite the nastiest fish that I have ever eaten, tasting like warm, slightly greasy, blancmange, and eminently sick-making. Jim, who had a vested interest in it, professed to enjoy it and astonished us by eating the liver for breakfast.”




© Images copyright Ben Lovegrove, quotations from “Mischief goes South” by H W Tilman.