Why Vito Dumas is One of the Greatest Sailors in History

Vito Dumas was born on September 26, 1900, he took his last breath on March 28, 1965. In 1942 during World War ll he began his single-handed journey across the southern ocean. Whilst on this journey he only had the bare basics of equipment with one screwdriver, he had no anchor, engine, no self-steering, no reef points in the mainsail.

He sailed his LEHG II which was a 31-foot-2-inch (9.50 m) ketch that was designed in 1933. He did not even obtain a radio for the fear of being shot and accused of being a spy. Vito Dumas kept warm by stuffing his clothes with newspaper during this time. In total, he spent 272 days at sea with the odd stop at Cape Town, Wellington NZ, and Valparaiso and Chile. In 1957, he was awarded the Slocum Prize which is considered the most prestigious award for ocean voyagers.

His trips was the longest ever sailed by a single handed sailor to ever make and in the most bizarre conditions.

His boat was to the argentine navy but later it was found to have been abused and shattered on the shore. It was later purchased by a rich Argentine yachtsman who rebuilt the yacht and donated it to the  Argentine Naval Museum in Tigre. To this day that is where the famous LEHG ll is on display for the world to see in a place called River Plate. A short train ride from Buenos Aires.

Not only was Vito Dumas well known for his sailing skills but he also wrote books. He wrote a book about his experience through his journey at sea called Alone through the Roaring Forties (The Sailor’s Classics 5) (Sailor’s Classics Series). The reviews for this book are 5 stars and a fabulous read for anyone interested in history and sailing. It would be a fantastic book to purchase and take on your sailing trips.

If this isn’t impressive enough In his youth Vito Dumas was a profound swimmer reportedly making a 25-hour swim across from Uruguay to Argentina when he was just 23 (wow!). It is believed that his passion for swimming helped him find his love for sailing the deep waters of the seas.

Unfortunately, there is no evidence of his early life as a child and young teenager.


We think it is safe to say, Vito Dumas will forever go down in history as one of the all-time greats when it comes to the topic of sailing, I would also recommend the video dedicated to Vito Dumas on YouTube for more inspiration and a presentation of just how truly amazing this sailor was.

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