The painting shows the double ended steel ketch Joshua sailing in the high swell of the southern ocean, east of New Zealand, during the 1968/69 Golden Globe round the world solo yacht race. Bernard Moitessier is taking up on the mainsail halyard after putting in a reef to allow for the early morning freshening breeze. The sails in use are the smaller heavy weather sails which he used when sailing in the higher latitudes.
Although Moitessier was comfortably placed to win this famous race, he elected instead to continue the voyage past Cape Horn and back round the world towards the Pacific Islands because of his love of the sea, rather than wanting to just break a record.
The full details of his voyage are covered in his book Bernard Moitessier – The Long Way and an excellent account of the London Sunday Times Golden Globe race is provided in A Voyage For Madmen by Peter Nichols and in the 2007 documentary film Deep Water .
In 1982 Joshua dragged anchor during a major storm at Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and ended up with many other boats on the beach. Eventually it was restored and acquired by the Maritime Museum of La Rochelle in France where it now forms part of their historical maritime display. Further information is available on the museum’s web site at Maritime Museum La Rochelle.
Refer also to the painting on this site of Suhaili sailed by Robin Knox-Johnston, another entrant in this race.
Specifications and details of Joshua:
Designer: Jean Knocker
Builder: Jean Fricaud
Name: After Joshua Slocuum
Type: Double ended Steel constructon
Length overall: 39ft 6in
Length Waterline: 33ft 9in
Displacement: 12 tons
Draft: 5ft 3in