Tristan Jones, irascible rogue of the sea, liked nothing more than to sit before an audience and tell rambling tales of high-seas drama, some fact, many fiction. He claimed to have been born on his father’s tramp steamer off Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic in 1924 and to have been torpedoed three times before the age of 18 while serving in the Royal Navy in World War II. None of this was true, according to Anthony Dalton, his biographer. He was born in a hospital near Liverpool in 1929, he didn’t know his father, and he didn’t sail with the Navy until after the war’s end.
But does any of this matter? His stories transfixed readers and audiences, who delighted in his gravelly brogue and wandering narratives. Two DVDs, The Incredible Tristan Jones (an updated edition) and The Psychology of Adventure (an all-new production), have just been released by Sea-TV of New Haven, Conn. The videos show Jones lecturing live audiences in New York City, smoking, drinking, cursing and laughing about his many exploits, real and imagined, aboard countless yachts and ships over a 40-year career at sea. (See www.sea-tvproductions.com for more information.)