7 inspiring around the world boat trips

19th May 2021

7 inspiring around the world boat trips

Sailing around the world fascinates boaters and non-sailors alike all over the world. The idea of crossing oceans and seeing places not many have been to, captures everyone’s imagination. It’s a journey where you get to truly experience nature and reach unspoilt places.

Anyone can complete such a voyage nowadays. You don’t need an expensive ship, a big crew, or sponsors. Any sailor with the right budget and experience can attempt to sail around the world. 

We have collated a list of inspirational circumnavigations to help you daydream. Some are accomplishments that have been applauded throughout the world. Others are low key. They’re journeys completed by normal people who made their life-long dream come true, in their own way.

1) World ARC participants

The World Atlantic Rally for Cruisers is a sailing competition that takes place every year. It starts from St. Lucia and follows the tradewinds route, sailing through the Panama Canal and westwards around the globe. The voyage is 26,000 nautical miles and lasts 15 months. Joining the rally means you’re not alone and the ARC team arranges for marinas, land activities, and more beforehand. 

Taking part isn’t cheap, but it’s a fantastic experience for sailors who want to travel with other circumnavigators and are on a tight deadline. To participate, you need a boat at least 12.19m (40ft) long and a crew of minimum two people. About 30 boats take part in the ARC each year.

2) Jessica Watson

In 2009, Jessica Watson, Deckee’s Founding Ambassador, became the youngest person to sail solo non-stop around the world at age 16. She completed the journey unassisted, having survived seven knockdowns. It took her 210 days to get back to Australia on her 10.23m (33.6ft) monohull. 

She recorded her journey on camera and on her blog. After the voyage, she published two books. Since then, she has completed an MBA and co-founded Deckee. 

3) The Giffords - Sailing Totem

The Giffords are the family behind the well-known blog Sailing Totem. They have slowly circumnavigated the globe aboard their 47-foot sailboat in 9 years. 

So far, they have been living on a boat full-time for 12 years. Jamie and Behan have been working from the boat as cruising consultants and sail makers. The kids have been homeschooling until they could apply to college.

Recently, the family appeared on American TV and online media to talk about their adventures. What makes them special is the fact that they are an average family who love life at sea. They just found their own way to sail around the world.

4) Lin and Larry Pardey

Lin and Larry Pardey gained fame as sailors and writers who completed two circumnavigations aboard two small, engineless boats. They coined the motto: “Go small, go simple, go now”. The couple worked while cruising - first in the off-season as boat builders, and then full-time as writers. Each circumnavigation took them years to complete, but they enjoyed every second of them.

Together, they sailed more than 200,000 nautical miles. The couple eventually settled down in New Zealand, where they bought a cottage and a small sailboat. 

Larry passed away in 2020 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. Lin has recently joined David Haigh, her new sailing partner, in his voyages. She can’t get enough of sailing.

5) David and Amy Alton - Out Chasing Stars

David and Amy Alton sailed around the world aboard their 44ft catamaran and recorded the feat on their YouTube channel - Out Chasing Stars. Over 5 years, they visited 27 countries and sailed a total of 34,140 nautical miles, flying out to go home 7 times. The couple started and finished the trip in Antigua. 

They have no intention of selling their sailboat for now. David and Amy don’t plan to cruise forever, but they do hope to embark on more boating adventures in the future.

6) Yann Quenet

Yann Quenet is a sailor, inventor, and boat builder. He is currently attempting a circumnavigation aboard a 14ft plywood/epoxy sailboat he built himself. This is his second attempt at sailing around the world - the first time round, he was shipwrecked off the coast of Portugal. 

He is now half-way across the Pacific Ocean aboard Baluchon. If he was to complete the voyage, he could break the record for the smallest sailboat to circumnavigate. His feat shows how you can sail around the world on any seaworthy vessel, even if your budget is smaller.

7) Bill Hatfield

Bill Hatfield became the oldest man to sail single-handed, unassisted around the world in 2020. After four attempts, Bill completed the voyage at age 81. A former fisherman, he had dreamed of circumnavigating since he was 8. He took 8 months in total to do it. 

What makes his journey even more exceptional is the fact that he sailed eastward, facing the world’s prevailing winds and currents. During previous attempts, he faced storms, heavy winds, and rigging damage, which meant he had to turn back. His accomplishment is a testament to how determined he is.

Circumnavigation Q&A

Are you inspired yet? Delve deeper into the topic. In this section, we’ll answer some of the most common questions about sailing around the world.

How do you achieve a circumnavigation?

These are the main requirements to complete one by boat:

  • setting off and returning to the same port

  • crossing all meridians of longitude

  • crossing the equator

  • travelling a minimum of 21,600 nautical miles.

Who was the first person to circumnavigate the globe?

According to the history books, it was Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan. However, he was killed during the voyage. His ship left Spain in September 1519 and sailed back in September 1522. The expedition was successful, but he wasn’t there to complete the journey.

Some historians credit Magellan’s Malay slave, Enrique, with the achievement. Magellan seized Enrique on a previous sailing trip in 1511. He then served as the round-the-world expedition’s interpreter for the Pacific Islands. He disappeared after Megallan’s death, not far from Malacca - his country of origin. 

How much does it cost to sail around the world?

It depends on what vessel you sail on and your lifestyle. The average cruiser spends around $1,500 per month, after investing $30,000-200,000 in a sailing yacht. Some people can do it on a cheaper boat for $800 a month, while others prefer a generous $4,000 budget and a more luxurious sailboat.

How long does it take to sail around the world?

Between 41 days and 10 years. The fastest boat to sail around the world was IDEC 3, skippered by Francis Joyon. He circumnavigated in 40 days and 23 hours in 2005. 

Cruisers who aren’t competing in a race usually plan to take 2 to 5 years. However, some people decide to take things slow and spend as many years as they like sailing around the world. This allows them to experience each country they visit fully and make some diversions.

How big of a sailboat do you need to sail around the world?

To travel in comfort, most sailors choose boats that are between 9.7 meters (32ft) and 19.8m (65ft) long. The bigger the boat, the more stable it feels. Plus, there’s more room for the crew to sleep and relax. However, a few smaller craft have completed the journey.

What are the most common circumnavigation routes?

The traditional non-stop route would be to reach the Southern Ocean (where Antarctica is) and sail around the world eastward or westward via the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn.

These days, most people circumnavigate by going through the Panama Canal in order to avoid the perilous waters of Cape Horn. There’s also the option to sail through the Straits of Magellan in Southern Chile, if you want to avoid the Horn and the Panama Canal. Some sailors skip the Cape of Good Hope and motor through the Suez Canal.

If you’d like to read up on the toughest round-the-world yacht races out there, check out this article.

Please make sure you conduct in-depth research on the topic, before committing or setting off sailing around the world. Regulations for mandatory equipment to keep on board your vessel and entry requirements vary in each state and country.