Globe Star voyage
By David Cromie
house fly brought the news: land was near! On May 13, 1984, after
510 days at sea, Marvin Creamer 43 neared the end of
a voyage which had begun as a fantasy in his teenage mind while
reading avidly about oceangoing sailboats. For half a century, Creamer
dreamed of sailing round the world in a small boat. On the
second of his eight Atlantic crossings, he began to consider the
possibility of a voyage around the globe without the use of navigational
instruments. Now, the appearance of the house fly was a good indication
that he was about to become the first person in recorded history
to complete such a feat. His 36-foot vessel, The Globe Star, was
Four days after the flys visit, following a night of wrestling
with heavy sails, the exhausted skipper had just crawled into
his bunk when he was awakened by repeated shouts. Overhead, a U.S.
Coast Guard chopper circled the Globe Star. Off the starboard bow,
Creamer spotted a red marker, the F marker just 15 miles
south of Cape May. At 1 p.m. on May 17, the Globe Star entered Cape
May harbor having logged 30,000 miles and 17 months at sea. It had
been a jolly romp on the ocean, Creamer writes in his
record of the journey.
Using only environmental clues, Creamer and his crew sailed around
the globe in a record-breaking feat of grand proportions. They relied
on stars, waves and water color, bird life, cloud formations, the
sun and planets, the horizon and identifiable landmarks. With their
sextant, clock, compass and radio sealed in a locker below deck,
the crew of the Globe Star proved what Creamer had always believedthat
it is possible to navigate the globe in a small boat without instruments.
The soft-spoken 68-year-old retired geography professor became an
American hero much admired by those he met during his adventure.
Creamer and his crew docked at Capetown, South Africa; Hobart and
Sydney, Australia; Whangora, New Zealand; and Port Stanley in the
Falkland Islands. Christmas 1983 was spent in the Falklands where
they had unknowingly made port at a top secret British military
installation. We were the talk of the Royal Air Force,
Creamer writes. They treated us like kings, but they thought
we were crazy.
What we demonstrated, he concludes, is that information
taken from the sea and sky can be used for fairly safe navigation.
How far pre-Columbians sailed on the worlds ocean we do not
know; however, it is my hope that the Globe Star voyage will provide
researchers with a basis for assuming that long-distance navigation
without instruments is not only possible, but could have been done
with a fair degree of confidence and accuracy.
Creamer has always been a doer as well as a dreamer. As a Glassboro
State undergraduate, he founded and published The Half-Whit, parody
and competition for the official student paper, The Whit.
From 1948 to 1977 he served his alma mater as a professor, and also
held posts as director of public relations, president of the Faculty
Association and chair of the Social Studies Department. Named Outstanding
Professor by The Whit in 1964 and Distinguished Alumnus by fellow
alums in 1980, Creamer won additional awards after the voyage: Cruising
World appointed him to the Sailing Hall of Fame, and in 1986 the
Cruising Club of America awarded him sailings highest honor,
the Blue Water Medal. Today, Creamer and his wife, Blanche Layton
Creamer 42, reside in Pine Knoll Shores, N.C., where they
plan to stay on dry land.