Tania Aebi (born October 7, 1966) is an American sailor. She completed a solo circumnavigation of the globe in a 26-foot sailboat between the ages of 18 and 21, making her the first American woman and the youngest person (at the time) to sail around the world. Despite many challenges, she accomplished her goal and proved to her father that she could complete something.
Aebi recounts the story of her voyage in her book Maiden Voyage. The book is a story of teenage angst, self-discovery and adventure. Aebi's story is unusual because she was by many standards, poorly prepared for her voyage, but prevailed through common sense, skills she both learned and honed underway as well as a strong sense of determination.
Aebi had practically no sailing or navigation experience when she departed on her journey, on 28 May 1985. Aebi did not have a GPS receiver because civilian GPS receivers were unavailable. Instead, Aebi had a sextant for celestial navigation and a radio direction finder. She used the first leg of her trip from New Jersey to Bermuda as a sea trial of her boat and was plagued by factory defects that may easily have been corrected before departure had they been exposed.
She completed the circumnavigation in Varuna, a Contessa 26. Her arrival back in New York City on November 6, 1987 after a cold November transit across the Atlantic was heralded nationally by the news media.
Tarzoon, the cat who traveled more than half the world around with her survived for more than 20 years and died peacefully in its sleep just before she was to undertake a new voyage with her two teenage sons. She and her sons sailed a newly acquired steel monohull across the Caribbean and South Pacific during 2008. She traded off with the boys' father, her ex-husband Olivier Berner, in Papeete, Tahiti. Olivier and his sons continued their cruising passage from there.
In 2005 Tania Aebi published her second book, "I've Been Around".
Tania Aebi writes columns for several sailing and cruising magazines. She lives in Corinth, Vermont.
- Tania Aebi, Bernadette Brennan (1989). Maiden Voyage. Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-345-41012-2.
- Tania Aebi (2005). I've Been Around. Sheridan House. ISBN 1-57409-213-8.