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Tim Severin's final voyage

Was very sad to read yesterday of the death of Tim Severin, the world-renowned explorer and writer, in December 2020 at the age of 80. His 1500 mile journey from Volos in Greece to Colchis, the land of the Golden Fleece (in modern day Georgia) in 1984 really sparked my interest in the Ancient Mediterranean, but even that epic voyage wasn't his biggest.

Between May 1976 and June 1977, he sailed 4500 miles from Ireland to Newfoundland, retracing St Brendan's 7 year passage across the Atlantic in the C6th AD. What makes his achievement even more remarkable is that Severin's boat was lashed together with several miles of leather thongs, replicating the design of curraghs of that era.

A decade after he completed the Jason Voyage, I was lucky enough to row on the reconstructed Athenian trireme 'Olympias' in sea trials around the island of Poros. I was doing a bit of research to see if there was any news of similar voyages being planned and, pretty naively in retrospect, was half expecting to see his name in connection with one. It didn't even occur to me that he would be 80 years old! Another reminder, as if we needed one, of how time flies and, for those of us who vividly remember the '90s as being 'not that long ago', that we need to think again!


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