Best Practices in Preparation for Ocean Voyaging


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Oliver Solanas Heinrichs
Oliver Solanas Heinrichs
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Daria Blackwell - 6/19/2019
Member Jonathan Lloyd s/v Sophia has prepared a detailed paper on the steps that aspiring world voyagers should take in preparing themselves and their boat for distance sailing. We are posting his paper in sections here and ask our very experienced members to comment, providing different perspectives and insights from their own experience. When completed, we hope to compile a paper on Best Practices in Preparation for Ocean Voyaging as a reference. 

Part I: INTRODUCTION

Undertaking a circumnavigation of the world in your own yacht is not only an activity, which takes a substantial amount of time but one which requires considerable planning and preparation. If you join a rally such as the World ARC, the feat can be accomplished in 15 months. However, most cruisers adopt a more leisurely approach and take up to 5 years and even longer. The more leisurely approach means that the vast majority of circumnavigators are retirees in their 50s and 60s, most of whom are double-handed married couples or partners of long standing. However, there are younger couples often with young children, who are able to take a sabbatical or break from work in order to achieve this ambition. In some cases, they break their circumnavigation and return to work in order to obtain the necessary funds to continue. There are also single-handers, who fall into both categories.

In our case, our circumnavigation started when we left the Solent on 1st June 2014 and finished when we crossed our outward track on arrival in Martinique in the Caribbean on 8th March 2018. Cruising up the east coast of the USA this summer has given us ample time to reflect on how well prepared we were for this challenge and the lessons we have learnt in this regard, which might be of assistance to those contemplating such a venture in the future.

While undertaking a circumnavigation had been a long-held ambition for both of us, the requirements of career, children’s education and caring for elderly parents meant waiting until these responsibilities were no longer a consideration before we could start the serious business of planning and preparing for this undertaking. With the death of my mother in 2012 the opportunity arose to do so. Once her affairs and estate had been settled I agreed to retire in April 2013 with my wife Anne following suit several months later. This would give us approximately a year to get organised. We reckoned that we would need at least this long in order to prepare both ourselves and also prepare and equip our yacht, as well as making the necessary domestic arrangements for a long term absence. At this point, we also set a target date for our departure, as it is all too easy to let your departure date slip if you do not have a target.

That´s indeed one of those things to think about. It is going to sound a bit hard, but in some cases it´s like " I go now, that my parents are still ok, or I go, when "They are gone" ". " cause while they need help, you might not want to travel off.... ! Or, something is going to happen to them while I am sailing on the other side of the world....
Oliver Solanas

OSolanas
SoggyPaws
SoggyPaws
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Jonathan and Anne,

Am taking some time to review OCC's and SSCA's offerings to overseas cruisers and ran across your Circumnavigation Preps post.  It is very well done.   Thanks for taking the time to do it.  Hopefully it will be of help to others with the same circumnavigation goals.  It is interesting to see what you found worked and what did not.  We have some similar and some different experiences.      This would make a great SSCA Bulletin article that will be permanently filed for use by future cruisers.  Could you do that?  Dave McCampbell, SV Soggy Paws, In the Solomons
jonall
jonall
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Hi Dave

I apologise that it has taken me this long to pick up your post. However, we have been extremely busy in the last few weeks sorting out the aftermath of our lightning strike now that we are finally back in Southampton.

Regarding you suggestion of an article for the SSCA Bulletin I would be happy to do so. However, given the size of the article it may need to be divided up into a number of sections, but I will leave that decision to the editors. I will get in touch with Jeff Gower.

Jonathan
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