Ancestor is the story of a Carriacou sloop, an engineless, locally-built sailing vessel purchased and refit by the author while living and sailing in the vicinity of the islands of St. Vincent and Grenada in the Caribbean Sea. The Carriacou sloop is one of a legendary class of sailing craft hand-built of wood by local Caribbean builders using traditional shipbuilding methods and following designs passed down over generations.
The author purchased the vessel from a local captain on Carriacou who seemed to be retiring from his profession of moving goods and supplies, sometimes illegally, from where they could be purchased to where they were needed. The author then set about refitting the vessel and sailing it from Grenada in the southern Caribbean, visiting the San Blas Islands of Panama, then transiting the Panama Canal. Once, in the Pacific Ocean, he set sail to tour the Galapagos Islands and Hawaii, then eventually to Vancouver, British Columbia.
Throughout the voyage the author conveys the story of his journey and fellow voyagers. This is a journey of true adventure aboard an engineless sailing vessel making its way across oceans and visiting foreign ports. The story is unique not only by the subject matter but also by the storytelling ability of its author, Jon van Tamelen, as he relates this tale of life and escapades on the high seas.