About The Robert Manry Project
In the Beginning, There Was a Boat
The seeds of The Robert Manry Project sprouted in 1996 while I was preparing for a voyage from Southern California to Hawaii. I’ve been an avid sailor most of my adult life, with a special love of bluewater passagemaking. During that period, I reread many of my books about solo sailors and small boat voyages. Since I was in the process of outfitting my boat, I had a particular interest in sections about gear and provisioning. One of the most thorough chapters on the subject is “Comments for Sailors” in Tinkerbelle, by Robert Manry. His book was exciting and inspirational the first time I read it, and remains one of the very best stories of any kind about how it’s possible for anyone to nurture and fulfill a potent, personal dream. I noticed in Manry’s detailed equipment list that he carried a 16mm movie camera and 50 rolls of Kodachrome. Although I was quite familiar with the filmography on the subject, I had never heard of this film and became curious about where it might be. So I started looking…
I soon learned that Robert Manry died twenty-five years earlier in 1971, but was able to locate his son Douglas, who was eleven at the time of Tinkerbelle’s most famous voyage. He was friendly and enthusiastic about the continued, though occasional, interest in his father. But he had no idea what had happened to his father’s film, and told me that after Robert’s death, the extended family had drifted apart. He did however provide a few clues, names, and possible leads. I embarked on a case of amateur sleuthing, and in the end, I located Robert’s brother John Manry, in Alberta, Canada, who told me, “Yes, it’s all in a box in my garage. I was afraid I might have to pitch it all in the trash one of these years during Spring cleaning.”
I acquired the films from Douglas and Robin. With additional hints they provided, I subsequently located their aunt Louise, who provided many other valuable photographs, newspaper accounts, family memorabilia and other artifacts, some of which I also purchased from Robin and Doug. The Robert Manry Project is an ongoing effort to catalog and provide access to these documents, conduct research about Robert, his life, and his adventures, and produce a feature-length documentary film.
This project wouldn’t be possible without the enthusiasm, dedication and kind assistance of many people, to whom we are very grateful.
RobertManryProject.com is the creative output of a talented team. Learn more about the people putting the puzzle together.
Comments and questions are always welcome. If you notice a factual, grammatical, spelling, or other technical error on this site, please let us know.
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You can help make the project a success! If you have a story about Robert Manry, or one of the other people touched by his life; if you have photos, audio recordings, home movies, or reminiscences to share; we want to hear from you. We can always use a hand to keep this effort going and get the film up on the screen. If you have any thoughts or suggestions, please cast us a line.
Thanks for your interest in the Robert Manry Project!
Steve Wystrach, Director, March, 2008