Thomas Thor Tangvald
Thomas Tangvald spent much of his youth growing up on board his father’s boat and, despite not receiving formal education, quickly learned three languages and celestial navigation despite possessing a genius-level IQ.
Charles J. Doane follows Thomas and his father Peter – an esteemed yet contentious sailor and author – across thousands of ocean miles through intimate interviews, personal correspondence, documentary research and firsthand experience of tropical anchorages and passage routes they frequented. Their story is both inspiring, terrifying, beautiful, and infuriating at once; truly an epic tale!
Early Life and Education
As his father Peter Tangvald was an influential pioneer of bluewater cruising and author of one of the seminal books on bluewater sailing – Sea Gypsy – Thomas Tangvald spent much of his life sailing engineless boats on the ocean. A gifted and resourceful young man, Thomas was also orphaned at an early age due to tragic events.
Tangvald became notorious in the cruising community due to two of his young wives going missing at sea and vague rumors surrounding his own life on the ocean. Marine journalist Charles Doane, himself an accomplished blue water sailor himself, followed Tangvald and his father across thousands of ocean miles in this gripping and compelling biography by Charles Doane himself; it is inspiring, terrifying and triumphantly tragic at once – an essential read for anyone interested in sailing who wants a deeper insight into life at sea.
Tangvald was revered in the bluewater sailing world. He had already written an influential book detailing his early cruising experiences and was soon to publish a full autobiography.
Boat building expert and lecturer. Born aboard his father’s L’Artemis de Pytheas ship and living afloat most of his life; unfortunately this extraordinary existence was marred by tragedy: losing two wives due to shipwrecks as well as witnessing his engineless sailboat become grounded off Bonaire reef in 1991.
Tangvald overcame these setbacks to become one of the world’s premier sailors when he set off from French Guiana for Brazil in March 2014 aboard Oasis – but never made it there and hasn’t been seen since.
Achievement and Honors
Thomas Tangvald was well known as a blue water sailor and author. A member of a close knit group known as ‘cruisers’, Thomas suffered tragic losses at sea – most notably the shipwreck of his father Peter Tangvald off Bonaire in 1991 which resulted in their deaths as well as Thomas being saved by old cruising friends.
Charles J. Doane has published a new biography, entitled The Boy Who Fell to Shore: The Extraordinary Life and Mysterious Disappearance of Thomas Tangvald, that captures all the complexities of Thomas Tangvald’s complex personality. Doane utilizes intimate interviews, personal correspondence and documentary research in telling this fascinating tale of one of the world’s most daring and controversial families. At this event he will speak about and read excerpts from this work of nonfiction.
Thomas Tangvald led an extraordinary life. Born at sea on his father’s world-famous blue-water sailing vessel L’Artemis de Pytheas, Tangvald grew up amid an era when more people than ever were living a life dedicated to full-time cruising.
Tangvald survived his parents and seven-year-old sister being killed in a shipwreck on Bonaire due to the support of friends of his father’s who promised they would look after him should anything happen to his parents. These friends took Tangvald first to Andorra and later England where he earned a bachelor’s degree degree.
Tangvald was an eccentric who defied conformity yet struggled with addiction and multiple failed relationships. Marine journalist Charles Doane brings this fascinating account of an intellectually gifted yet potentially self-destructive individual alive through their telling narration.
Thomas Thor Tangvald was born at sea aboard his father’s sailing sailboat L’Artemis de Pytheas and experienced both beautiful and devastating experiences on this seafaring childhood, ultimately leaving him orphaned at age 15. Although initially at ease with his new environment, eventually its traumas spiraled into addiction and broken relationships resulting in him living his own version of tragedy and depression.
Tangvald’s father Per sailed around the world aboard his yacht Dorothea before becoming lost with daughter Carmen during a shipwreck in 1991. Prior to this tragedy he had lost two of his seven wives to its cruel waters.
Tangvald left French Guiana aboard his inadequate and vulnerable boat Oasis for Natal in Brazil in March 2014 but hasn’t been seen since.