Colin (left) and Stan Smith (2nd left) at a reception in Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, on August 30th 1949.

In 1949, two brothers from the Isle of Wight, Stan and Colin Smith, intended to emigrate to Canada, to start the first of a series of peace colonies around the world. Seeking to prove their abilities as boatbuilders and designers, they built a 20-foot sloop, “Nova Espero“, and sailed her across the Atlantic, from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia to Dartmouth, Devon. The journey took 43 days; they expected a quiet reception, but instead found themselves to be national heroes. Stan Smith published a book telling the story, “Smiths at Sea“, which is still extremely popular.
This was neither the beginning, nor the end, of the story of Nova Espero. Stan Smith later (in 1951) crossed the Atlantic again, this time from east to west, in the company of Charles Violet; this was an even longer and more arduous journey – the story is told in Smith and Violet’s book “The Wind Calls The Tune“.
Charles Violet then completed two further journeys single-handed, through the canals of France, and around the Mediterranean. His book, “Solitary Journey“, tells the story of the first of these.
Finally, in 1965, Stan Smith completed a crossing of the North Sea, in a 14-foot yacht of his own design. Surviving a shipwreck in a terrible storm off the coast of Denmark, he continued his journey across the Kattegat to deliver the yacht to her purchaser in Sweden. This tale is told in Stan’s booklet “October Potter“.

This website is intended to commemorate those journeys, the boat, the extraordinary characters who sailed her, and other members of the Smith family. It also introduces the various books written about the journeys, including my own book “Nova – The History of the Nova Espero“, published in 2020.

Admiralty Chart No 2058; North Atlantic Ocean Route Chart showing variation curves for 1905, Published 1901 (public domain)

All content © Robin Somes unless otherwise indicated.