“April Fool”


Effect: Pleasure-Adventure

Type: Sailboat

Place: North America

Size: 5' 11"

Date: 1966

Builder/Location: Designed by Ed Mairs; Built by Phil Van Deventer

Museum Location: 37

Hugo Vihlen sailed from Casablanca to Florida in 1968, aboard this 6-foot sailboat.

“April Fool”, 1966
Designed by Ed Mairs
Built by Phil Van Deventer, Coconut Grove, Florida
5 feet 11 inches long, 5 feet wide, 1,222 pounds
Gift of Mr. Hugo S. Vihlen

Would You Cross the Atlantic Ocean in this Boat?
That’s exactly what Hugo Vihlen did when he sailed from Casablanca to Florida in 1968, aboard this
6-foot sailboat. On his third attempt Vihlen sailed 4, 480 miles in 85 days, and established the record
for the smallest yacht to cross the Atlantic Ocean — a feat that stood for 25 years (1968 – 1993).
If you look into the cockpit, notice the seat belt. Can you imagine being belted into this boat
during an Atlantic storm?

Excerpts from “April Fool or, How I sailed from Casablanca to Florida in a Six-Foot Boat”:

Casablanca, Morocco

30 March 1968
As I chugged through the harbor, the size of the place struck me for the first time. My boat was just a matchbox among the docked freighters. If I was concerned that my boat was so small in a harbor, how was I going to feel when she reached the middle of the Atlantic? At sea, I’d be like a grain of sand on the desert.

8 April 1968 – At sea
Awful rough. Twenty-foot waves, and steep. Barometer is 29.65. Nine days out.

26 April 1968 – At sea
I have been sailing four weeks today. I decided it was time for a haircut. I got out
the clippers and went up on the bow leaning over the edge so the hair wouldn’t
somehow get into the cabin. I took about 20 minutes and it wasn’t a bad job if I
do say so myself. Then I hopped overboard after first making certain to attach
myself to the boat by means of a line. My first bath in four weeks.

9 June 1968 – At sea
Catastrophe. I ran out of toilet paper today. Thank God for Reader’s Digest.

21 June 1968 – Florida
It was Friday night, and after 85 days at sea, I was home, and happy. Many times, while at sea, I had wondered how long it would take me to get used to sleeping in a bed again. I went to bed that night and slept straight through until the next morning. The voyage was over.

Origin: Coconut Grove, Florida, USA

April Fool