Sailing Around the Earth

I have been thinking of buying a sailboat and sailing in it around the world. I would appreciate any input from the members. I have no expierience and am thinking of a boat in the 30 to 43 foot range as these can probably be sailed by one individual. As for provisions my thoughts are rice, dried beans, beef jerky, canned tomatoes, and dried fruit, and vitamins. It will probably be lonely out at sea for weeks at a tyme, what can a person do in that situation? Read, sleep, listen to a radio? I wonder what it will be like arriving at a foreign port, think they will tell me , sorry American Yankee your not welcome here, or maybe worse. They might throw me into some dungeon like prison cell. Ohh no thats a scary thought.
Well probably better to not worry about that now.
Any ideas or advice sure would be considered :cool:

You really should crew first.

Thanks for the advice Nurse Carmen :slight_smile: . Have you been asea before? Whats it like? I didn’t mention in the op that my idea is to live aboard the vessel for a tyme , inorder to get aquainted as it were. Then perhaps take her out and go south along the West Coast thru the Panama canal, and up the East coast, and perhaps the Inland Water Way, to Pennsylvania, from there head east to Europe, Africa then the Middle East, continue East to the West Coast again, or maybe not. :confused:

The best thing about doing an around-the-world is it minimizes those awkward getting-the-boat-into-the dock moment. I hate the last thirty meters or so.
Hie thee to Border’s Books and get the latest issue of Cruising World. It is the nearest thing to a serious boating magazine there is. Read it. Then mention to people at work that you really enjoy reading Cruising World. Let them think whatever they think.

You say you have No Experience?!? With sailing?!?

I highly reccomend spending some time sailing first… (some time, meaning a year or two of casual sailing, or many months of intense sailing).

Especially before crossing an ocean… alone…

It is entirely one thing to sail close to the shore, where you can pull into a dock at night, or tie off to a mooring, or use the anchors to secure your boat. But out at sea, there is no stopping, ever, until you have reached the far side. The boat never stops moving, rocking, everything is in motion, all the time.

My mother and step father sailed across the Atlantic a couple years ago, with another couple. (The other couple were starting out on an around the world couple year long voyage. My mom and SF only went as far as the Azores and then flew home.) Although my mom had her own sailboat, and had been sailing for several years, and loved sailing… she HATED that trip. Even with 4 people, someone had to be on duty at all times, watching the sails, manning the tiller. With the waves, everything was always in motion, meaning that even simple tasks were difficult, like making lunch. etc. She was exhausted for the entire trip. When the trip was over, she swore she’d never do it again. … Although she still sails around New England all the time and loves it. (They just spent 4 days in Gloucester on the boat for the holiday weekend.)

Not to scare you off the idea though… My SF loved the trip, had a great time and would do it again at the drop of a hat… and he’d fully expect to do it alone, knowing my mom would fly over to meet him on the dock when he arrived at the far side.

So my advice it to try it out first and make sure it’s really for you… and if it is, GO FOR IT!

You have no experience? As in, you’ve never sailed before? Seems pretty foolish to set out on a round the world cruise without extensive open ocean solo sailing experience. How do you know you even like it? Do you even have any experience being alone for prolonged periods? Why do you want to do this? I get romantic notions from time to time too, but most of the time I figure out I’m in love with the idea of having the experience, not actually having the experience.

I agree with EarthStone777, you should try sailing first. Start small. Go to sailing school. I’ve attended just an informational seminar on how to circumnavigate the world and it is a lot of work and alot to know. You will probably have to buy an ocean going vessel as well. You said that you wanted to be a live aboard. Not every marina allows live aboards, while some do, others have waiting lists of people waiting to get permission to live aboard their boats, so it depends on the marina, or where you’re docked. Personally the water and wind conditions every afternoon coming in from the ocean through the Golden Gate Bridge into the bay in that “zone” is very rough and consistently a good challenge to your sailing skills. Try sailing in similar conditions to practice and you’ll find that it gets physically tiring, but is doable for one person on a day sail, I don’t know how you would keep it up on your own every day non stop. But it would be helpful for you to sail in as many wind/wave/weather conditions that give you the opportunity to duck behind land for a break before you go out into the open ocean. But circumnavigating the world has been done. YYMV and good luck! What type of sailboat are you thinking of buying?

Though some things are best done without exhaustive thought and research, (ex. Skydiving) I humbly suggest that around the world sailing isn’t one of them. As others have noted, it’s a non trivial commitment on a physical, psychological and financial level. I don’t know if you were thinking of doing it single handed (alone) or with a crew. Either way, it’s a hell of thing to commit to and accomplish. But the dangers are very real, as are the various demands it will put on you.

Spend a few years sailing and learning various boat handling skills. Learn about various boats, related gear, boat mechanics, electronic equipment and emergency repairs. Take navigation and various cruising/sailing courses. Find out if you are built for the types of demands that off shore sailing will make of you. Begin with a bare boat charter for a week or two. Then try an ocean crossing with an experienced skipper and crew.

Good luck. It’s an admirable goal but one that should not be rushed into.

A friend of mine recently spent a week or so as chef on a sailboat sailing through foreign countries. He thoroughly enjoyed it and would not repeat the experience for the world.
There were three people on board, and no one ever got a full night’s sleep- because they all had to stand watches.

Also, boats are expensive. As is the fuel to keep them going. (OK, I know you want a sail boat. But, most sailboats have motors for use in port or when the wind just isn’t going your direction.)

Finally, Have you ever done any foreign travelling? Because you might want to investigate just what the requirements would be for you to sink anchor off the coast of your foreign country of choice before you head out sailing.

Definitely get experience with blue-water sailing while crewing someone else’s boat. Preferably a lot of experience, especially if you plan to go it alone afterwards.

Even with my dad’s considerable sailing experience in the Chesapeake Bay and along the Atlantic coast, his first offshore trip with my mom and brother turned into a mess when they were caught in a storm. He could not have handled the problems (snapped mast, jib caught under the bow, etc.) alone that night, and he was on a boat roughly the size of what you are thinking of. These problems aren’t common, but you absolutely must be prepared to deal with them before you think of undertaking a trip like the one you’re thinking of.

I should also add that even before trouble hit my mom and brother were not thrilled with the arrangement of having to sleep for short periods and then keep watch. And both were seasick most of the way.

There are small-crew (2 person shift) trawlers capable of ocean crossing:

Trawler Web
Web-log of an Atlantic crossing

Well, like others said, before you start thinking about provisions, you need to get yourself some experience.

Definitely get out on the water, NurseCarmen’s suggestion of joining a crew is excellent.

Take several classes. The United States Power Squadron offers some excellent ones.

My husband and I have taken their standard Boating Safety course, as well as some members courses like Sail and Advance Sail, Piloting, and Navigation.

For sailing around the world (something my husband and I may do before or when we retire), I’d suggest just about all their classes. At the very least you’ll need to know, aside from a working knowledge of your boat and it’s parts, how to read a chart, use a compass, and at least have some idea how to navigate using the stars. Not to mention how to read the weather, tides, and ohh, a dozen other things or so.
You really can’t learn too much. I’d highly recommend becoming a USPS member. Not only do you get great information from the USPS books and materials, you get excellent advice and stories from members. You can definitely learn a little hearing about other people’s mistakes.

I’d also suggest some reading material:

Maiden Voyage by Tanya Aebi
Just about anything by Tristan Jones
Good Boatkeeping - General useful tips, tricks and ideas.
A Boater’s Guide To Provisioning by D. Farley

And general Sailing books. Even though we took several courses, my husband and I have at least 6 or 7 different general sailing/boating books sitting around the house. The general info is the same, but it’s nice to read and re-read it.
As far as what you’ll be doing. I wouldn’t worry about being bored. If you aren’t tending to rigging or plotting your course, something will need to be cleaned/put away/sewn/fixed/cooked/you name it.

The days of Lynn and Larry Pardee are over. If you are not rich or extremely committed, you are in for a rude shock.

As said above, go sail a while.

Friends in New York just bought a 45 foot sailboat. It was a deal - a little over $100,000 and sort of a fixer upper. The husband learned to sail about 10 years ago and his wife (a friend of mine for a long time) has learned how to be more helpful on a sailboat than just make salad. They have rented sailboats over the years, he has gotten quite good and has actually been paid to sail the big ones down from NYC to the Bahamas and that area. They also flew to Tahiti and sailed to New Zealand.

They intend to retire on this very expensive sailboat and sail around the world. Mind you, when I say retire, I mean at age 45. They earn a nice chunk of change right now.

However, they have been doing it for over ten years, and have the money to go and have sailed in different seas around the world, in all kinds of weather, in all the seasons. They only now think they are ready.

In other words, from what they have told me and from what I have gleaned from your OP…I think you might need a little more experience before even considering such a venture.

Hi NadaHappy. I understand your dream of sailing around the world, but like the others I would suggest that you get some (actually a lot) of sailing and general boating experience first.

A few years ago I took a sailing trip down the U.S East Coast from New York to Florida. It was a great trip, with favorable conditions and rather few and minor mishaps. I’ve posted the journal I kept on the trip in this thread.

One thing you’ll notice is that there was an ongoing series of unexpected weather and minor malfunctions. That’s normal on a sailing trip. Before you set out you’ll have be able to handle everything that happened in that thread and a lot more.

Good luck.

Okok, all the “learn how to sail first” advice is great, but what about the rest of the OP?

How do you provision a small boat? How do you deal with watchstanding when you’re the only watchstander? How do you cruise your boat into a foreign port (even assuming one has a passport the visa fees for some out-of-the-way ports must be insane)? How many books can one store on a boat like this?

Word of mouth is invaluable. You have to befriend and maintain contact with as many fellow sailors who’ve been to the ports of call you’ll be sailing to as possible. They will be the most reliable source of good and most current information. Books about various locals and ports will tell you a lot but they will largely help you know what questions you need to ask. The rest is up to you.

Dammit billdo! I’ve forgotten how much I’ve loved your sailing logs, get out there again!
(I’m bareboating a 45’ Morgan out this weekend, weeee! But I’ll be on Superior, so I don’t need to heed Bill’s Boating Safety Tip of the Day: Don’t go to bed wearing salt-water soaked boxers or you risk the dreaded itchy-butt.)

Don’t forget Callahan’s Adrift and The Proving Ground :smiley: (might as well toss the fear of god into him)

They actually make auto pilots where you set a heading and it goes, but if the wind shifts they aren’t very helpful, and if you’re in the shipping lanes they don’t warn you when you’re about to be turned to chum. Folks who like sleep as much as I do probably shouldn’t attempt circumnavigation.

Write your will. If you have no experience you will be die.