Feasibility of sailing around the world.

As Columbus knew, the way to go around the Atlantic is south when westbound and north when eastbound because that’s the way the wind blows. From Europe go south to the Canaries, then across to the Caribbean, then north to the US, the across to Bermuda and Azores back to Europe.

Sailing competently and safely in the open oceans requires knowledge which will take some years of practice and study to acquire. Start crewing in other people’s boats and you will learn a lot faster and save a ton of dough. Believe me, owning a boat is not half as much fun as it seems. I rememebr when I crewed on other people’s boats and now that I own a boat I sometimes wish I didn’t. You either have money to burn or you are going to spend more time maintaining stuff than actually sailing. If you enjoy the maintenance (like I do) then fine, but if you just want to sail you better get rich first.

Great info dopers! Thanks for enlightening me on a lot of things I wouldn’t have thought of. This is truly a great board.

Damn. You have to keep watch at night? I was thinking of letting the boat float around until I woke up. Do sailboats even have anchors?
Like I mentioned before, I know nothing about sailing or boats.

I’ll definitely have to pick up some of the books that have been mentioned if I were to seriously consider this. Thanks again.

While sailboats do have anchors (I’ve certainly spend the night anchored on mine in our local lake/river), you need to have enough rode to properly set (and hold the anchor). Given that the Atlantic and Pacific oceans reach depths of more than 5000M, anchoring isn’t really practical.

I’ve never done any ocean sailing but my brother sailed solo from Vancouver British Columbia to Hawaii and back again. I believe at night he dropped his sails and set the autohelm. (You set your headings on the autohelm and it holds your course.) My brother wasn’t worried about colliding with other boats as when you are in the middle of the ocean, you can spend many days without seeing any other boats. I believe that the primary shipping lanes are indicated on the charts so you don’t need to worry so much about a big freighter hitting you (assuming you don’t get in the lanes). I think amongst the biggest concerns for collision is jetsam and flotsam.

Yes, they have anchors, but obviously sailing across oceans cannot just be done during daylight hours. No anchor chain will reach to the bottom of the ocean, and even if it could there’s still the little matter of other ships making their own journeys. Yeah, the ocean can seem pretty empty most of the time, but sometimes it isn’t. You wouldn’t stop your car in the middle of a country road late at night to take a nap; for the same reason, you have to keep watch at all hours while underway.

Soloists, as I understand it, take short catnaps throughout the day and night, just enough so they can function. I honestly do not understand why the people who make such trips enjoy them, but they do.