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Digital Subscriptions > History Scotland > May - June 2018 > THE SOUTHERN CROSSCIRCUMNAVIGATION

THE SOUTHERN CROSSCIRCUMNAVIGATION

David I. Hutchison tells the exhilarating but ultimately tragic story of David Guthrie Dunn and his ambitious quest to circumnavigate the globe during the early 1930s in the small Clyde-built yacht, Southern Cross
The route Southern Cross took around the world

World voyagers are the elite of modern travellers, and the circumnavigators in small ships are the nobility of the elite.

Donald R Holm, 1974 The yacht Southern Cross was designed for the young tobacco heir David Guthrie Dunn to sail round the world with two university friends in 1930. It was one of the few circumnavigations by small yachts during the early part of the 20th century, but sadly never got the recognition it deserved.

The voyage was not undertaken with any record or recognition in mind, but to allow the young graduates to gain experience exploring the oceans and cultures of the world before embarking on their chosen careers. Unlike many of the small boats used in such voyages, Southern Cross was specially designed by one of the leading naval architects of the day, and the trip was well- funded by her millionaire owner. During long stopovers the crew had plenty of time to relax, explore and become acquainted with all the fascinating characters they invariably encountered. Their leisurely passage across the Pacific afforded a unique insight into the life and survival of isolated island communities at the height of the Great Depression in the early 1930s.

The story of this extraordinary yacht is all about connections. There were significant links between Dunn’s home at Largs, the southern cross constellation and the town of Brisbane in Australia. Furthermore, during their threeyear voyage the crew came across many people with connections to the Clyde, Largs and even the small village of Sandbank where the yacht was built.

Southern Cross

John Dunn was a tobacco merchant and partner in the prominent Glasgow tobacco manufacturing company F & J Smith, which became part of Imperial Tobacco in 1901. The imposing Knock Castle at Largs was acquired by Dunn as a family home in 1915. He had two sons, David Guthrie and John Jnr, the eldest who was destined to inherit the family fortune. Tragically he drowned in a boating accident in 1924 so David Guthrie at the age of 18 was placed under the guardianship of the trustees until he inherited the family fortune on his 25th birthday.

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About History Scotland

In the May/June issue of History Scotland we present the latest research from experts in the fields of Scottish history, heritage and archaeology, as well as news, opinion, book reviews and upcoming history events. Highlights include: · The tragic attempt by the tobacco heir David Guthrie Dunn to sail around the world in his small yacht, Southern Cross, in 1930 · A fresh contribution to the ongoing debate as to where the elusive abbey of Selkirk was situated during its brief existence in the early 12th century · A new study of the causes and consequences of the devastating famine of 1623 Plus: Family history advice, archaeology dig reports and finds analysis, National Records of Scotland column and lots more…
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