Sailing around the world: An essential guide [PDF]

25th May 2022 Elena Manighetti

Sailing around the world: An essential guide [PDF]

Sailing around the world is a dream many sailors and cruisers share. It involves getting thousands of nautical miles under your belt, exploring new countries and tasting new cuisines, stargazing in the middle of an ocean, experiencing exotic cultures, making lots of new friends from all over the world, and much more. Imagine the incredible memories you’d make.

It’s an ambitious enterprise, which requires a lot of preparation, training, time, and money. In this guide, we look at what it takes to accomplish a circumnavigation by sailboat and how to pull it off. There’s a lot to say about the topic - books have been written about it - so we cover the crucial information sailors considering sailing around the world typically need at this stage.

If you like, you can download the guide as a PDF document, so you can store it on your tablet, computer, or smartphone and read it offline.

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Common questions about circumnavigating by sailboat

First, we answer some common questions about sailing around the world, so we can clear some key things up early on. 

How many days does it take to sail around the world?

The world record is 40 days on a racing trimaran. However, this is not the type of circumnavigation many plan to complete. Leisurely sailing around the world normally takes between 3 and 5 years. 

There are three kinds of speeds at which you can circumnavigate:

  • Non-stop (100-200 days): racing without stopping anywhere 

  • Express (1-2 years): taking breaks every now and then for short amounts of time

  • Recreational (3+ years): comfortable sailing, stopping often and for long periods of time.

Non-stop sailing is a big challenge, which requires organising for supply boats to regularly come out and provide you with water, food, and fuel. To achieve such a circumnavigation in under a year, you need a fast boat, which can go at 10-20 knots average speed.

Most people who want to stop and visit some of the countries they come across take around 3 and a half years. While some sailors take over 10 years to complete their circumnavigations because they enjoy travelling at a slower pace and exploring more places.

In order to avoid sailing in hurricane or typhoon season, you will need to leave some countries during certain months of the year. This dictates how long you can spend in each area. For example, to avoid crossing the Atlantic during hurricane season, you need to do the passage anytime between November and April. While the Pacific hurricane season starts from May. This means that you either need to rush to cross the Atlantic and go through the Panama Canal, or you will have to stop somewhere safe, such as the ABCs or Panama, to wait out the hurricane season.

sailing around the world

Is sailing around the world expensive?

The short answer is yes; however you can adapt your voyage to your budget. You can save money by doing your own boat work, anchoring out a lot, eating on board most of the time, keeping your equipment simple, and more.

Factor the following costs into your budget:

  • Buying and refitting a boat

  • Boat insurance

  • Health insurance

  • Home insurance (if applicable)

  • Boat maintenance, upgrades, and repairs

  • Fuel (diesel and petrol)

  • Water

  • Holding tank pump outs (if applicable)

  • Marina and mooring ball stays

  • Boat storage

  • Grocery shopping

  • Phone contracts

  • Music and video streaming services (if applicable)

  • Any bills to be paid at home

  • Accountant fees (if applicable)

  • Visiting attractions

  • Eating out

  • Hiring cars

  • Trips home.

All of these add to your yearly allowance, so the longer you take, the more expensive the voyage will be. Bear in mind that any costs related to your unique lifestyle (for example, smoking or getting regular haircuts) aren’t included in this list, but you will need to incorporate them into your financial forecast. 

To plan for a circumnavigation, it’s best to come up with a realistic budget, taking into account as many costs as possible, and add a decent contingency (5-20%) to it. There will be unforeseen costs to take care of every now and then, so you can’t rely on a rough estimate. 

If the number looks too big, you can reduce some of the optional costs, such as eating out, but don’t plan to completely change your lifestyle during the circumnavigation. You need to be able to fully enjoy the ride, otherwise you will develop resentment towards your venture or vessel. 

If you’re considering selling your home, weigh the pros and cons carefully. You will need a place to live when the trip is over and your circumstances may change before you can complete it.

If you aren’t confident in your boat maintenance skills, allocate a big portion of your budget to pay for marine professionals. Engines, generators, and outboards should be serviced every 6 months and all the systems, such as electrical and plumbing, require regular attention on a boat. The marine environment is harsh due to salt water and humidity.

How safe is it to sail around the world?

Sailing is a very safe way to explore the world, if you minimise risks. This entails choosing weather windows carefully, avoiding dangerous areas, interacting with everyone politely, and taking precautions against boat burglaries. 

Some areas, such as parts of the Caribbean and Venezuela, regularly see cases of crime and violence against yachties. However, these are very much the exception. Most of the world is safe, especially for boats at anchor. 

sailing around the world

How big of a boat do I need to sail around the world?

There are bluewater sailing boats of all sizes - from 22 to 60ft long. So, as long as the boat is bluewater-capable, you can sail around the world on any size of boat. However, as you’ll be living on board for years, you’ll need to choose something that’s comfortable to be on full-time. 

To enter the Atlantic Rally For Cruisers (ARC), which involves sailing from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean every November, you need a boat that’s at least 27ft long. This is still a very small boat for most people. Typically, cruisers settle on yachts that are 40-42ft in length, as these are cheaper to moor while still comfortable to live on. Circumnavigating families opt for boats over 50ft.

Can you sail around the world with no experience?

No. Going offshore with no experience is extremely dangerous. You need to be able to handle a sailboat in various weather conditions in order to stay safe. Moreover, many countries require you to provide proof of sailing qualifications when checking in. Take time to get plenty of nautical miles under your hull before you plan to set off.

How much experience is needed to sail around the world?

Preparation is key when it comes to circumnavigating. There is no required level of sailing experience to embark on such an adventure. However, you will need to have enough skills and knowledge to feel safe and comfortable in the middle of an ocean. The amount of time you need to get to that point depends on how often you can go sailing and how quickly you learn things and develop confidence.

Ideally you will have skippered on a number of offshore passages, sailed solo for a day or more, crewed on an ocean passage, sailed in some bad weather, dealt with broken gear underway, and anchored for the night a number of times. 

No one will stop you from sailing around the world, but do you honestly feel ready? Have you researched the topic in depth? Do you know what to expect? Are you confident handling a storm at sea or in an anchorage? Can you fix your boat alone, without internet connection? These are the questions you should ask yourself before you start planning your voyage.

How difficult is it to sail around the world?

If you take time to develop the right knowledge and skills in advance, leisurely sailing around the world isn’t especially difficult; however, setting off ill-prepared will result in stressful and dangerous situations

Circumnavigating entails a lot of multitasking: passage planning, weather routing, boat maintenance, sailing, anchoring, researching country entry requirements, crisis management, and more. The key skill is problem solving, as you will encounter countless issues and you will need to deal with each in a calm way, whenever they happen. If you’re unlucky, you may have to overcome a few emergencies. It’s important you know how to act in all situations.

sailing around the world

Sailing qualifications

In order to sail around the world, many countries will require you to provide your sailing qualifications upon entry. Most marinas do, too. So you can’t circumnavigate without obtaining a boat licence, unless you avoid stopping in all the countries that require it. If you’re considering undertaking such an enterprise, gaining a sailing qualification shouldn’t be a concern, though. You will need to be capable of much more than what is required to gain a licence.

To start with, you’ll need to gain your country’s most recognised qualification - for example, the RYA Day Skipper. In some cases, showing this at a port of entry will be enough. 

In other areas though, you may need to show an internationally-recognised qualification. The most accepted one is the International Certificate of Competency (ICC), whichis recognised by the United Nations and valid throughout much of Europe and the Mediterranean. If you have already taken some certifications, such as the A.S.A. Bareboat Charter certificate, you may be able to skip the classroom training and take the ICC exam directly.

Bear in mind that when you go sailing your plans don’t always work out. You may end up having to stop in countries you hadn’t planned on your route in an emergency, so having the sailing qualifications required in most countries is very important. 

Skills needed to sail around the world

In order to sail around the world, it’s important that you can take care of your boat and yourself independently. You may be in the middle of an ocean when a piece of rigging breaks or you break an arm. Take time to learn and develop new skills, so you can get out of sticky situations and emergencies.

Marine weather interpretation

You will need to gain a more in-depth understanding of marine weather forecasts before you set off. A quick check of an app won’t be enough. You’ll need to learn how to read GRIB files and pilot charts, as well as how to use different weather models. Buy a good book on the subject. Understanding how weather systems interact on a bigger scale will give you a key advantage in your planning.

If you’ve been sailing in a specific area for a long time, you will have gotten used to the local marine weather patterns. These change throughout the world, though. So every time you go on a long-ish passage, you will need to read up about the new area you’re entering. 

In the Caribbean, squalls often travel across the Atlantic and reach the Eastern islands. In the Mediterranean, summers typically see long periods of calms, while the other seasons are characterised by frequent changes in wind direction and strength - sometimes even throughout the same day. 

sailing around the world

Heavy weather sailing

While modern weather forecasting is accurate 70-80% of the time, some phenomena can be unpredictable. Think of hurricanes or typhoons. Moreover, on a circumnavigation you will need to undertake very long passages and in some instances you won’t be able to avoid going through some bad weather.

For these reasons, you should gain confidence in heavy weather sailing. Learn how to handle your specific boat in high winds and a big swell before setting off. Every boat behaves differently - you may need to practise heaving to or running downwind. It’s best to get used to it all when you’re not far from home and can hire a professional skipper to teach you the best techniques.

First aid

Getting hurt on a boat isn’t fun, even when you’re at anchor. You may need to get on a dinghy to get to a doctor or wait two weeks before you make landfall. Neither option is great. For this reason, it’s a good idea to go on a first aid course before setting sail. 

Marine diesel engine

Your engine can break at the most inconvenient time. It helps if you can resolve the most common issues, such as oil or fuel injector problems. While anchoring under sail a couple of times may not be a big issue for most sailors, you’ll want to be able to fix the motor when you’re on a long passage. Having an alternative means of propulsion is essential. 

Rigging

You’ll want a professional rigger to check and update your rigging before a big passage or every few years of sailing. However, rigging wires and buckles can fail underway. In this case, you’ll need to be able to fix them, or you risk being dismasted. Try going up the mast underway at least once - it’s not as easy as it is in a slip.

Sail repairs

Carry a sail repair kit on board and learn how to use it. Sails can rip in gusts or when the boat is over-canvassed. If you don’t repair them, the rip can enlarge more and more until the sail is essentially useless. This skill will also turn out useful when a piece of canvas, such as the bimini, tears and you need a quick fix.

sailing around the world

Plumbing

Plumbing problems can be catastrophic in some instances - you may lose all your drinking water during a long ocean passage. So it’s essential that you know roughly where all plumbing is inside the boat and you know how to repair it. Carry some spare tubes on board. It’s always a great idea to bring spare water and a portable watermaker for emergencies. 

Electrical systems

Faulty wires can cause fires on board, which are extremely dangerous. Being able to check that your electric system is in working order is important. However, understanding how electrical connections work is very handy, as the instruments may stop working while you’re out at sea. 

Steering and autopilot repairs

Big waves or an impact with a floating object at speed can break the steering system of a boat. Whether it’s the rudder, the steering cable, or the autopilot which gives up, you’ll need to be able to re–establish steering in order to get back to land. Understanding how these systems work and how to make temporary repairs is essential.

Outboard engine basics

In most cases, losing your outboard engine is no big deal. However, if you’ve gone out to a reef to fish or snorkel on a windy day, you might get into trouble. Understanding outboard basics is a useful skill to develop. You may also be able to help a neighbouring cruiser out and gain a few drinks or a dinner invite.

These aren’t all the skills you’ll need to be able to sail around the world. There are many more that can turn out useful along the way. However, these should keep you safe in most instances.

sailing around the world

Documents to carry on your yacht

While sailing around the world, you will need to carry a number of documents with you, as well as your personal ID and passport.

Boat registration

Keep on board the original boat registration document stating the vessel’s name, engine size, MMSI number, and more. 

Boat insurance

Proof of boat insurance is needed to enter any marina and sometimes to gain a cruising permit - for example, in Greece. A third party policy is enough; although most underwriters will require a boat survey before issuing it.

VHF radio licence

Some countries and the Maritime Police will ask for the boat’s VHF licence.

Engine certification

Some nations, like Italy, also check your engine certification - the document which states that the motor of your sailing boat meets certain requirements.

Boat licence or equivalent certification

As mentioned above, it’s a good idea to obtain and carry a boat licence or equivalent sailing qualifications.

On top of these documents, if the local Coast Guard was to board and inspect your vessel, they’d check that you have in-date flares and functioning emergency equipment. 

Don’t forget to take any additional documents or accreditations, such as your driving licence or your diving certification card.

Safety equipment

There is a lot of safety gear you can get your hands on these days. If you can afford to, invest in as much as you can. Peace of mind has no price tag.

These are the essential items we recommend keeping on board while circumnavigating:

  • Life jackets with harnesses and safety line

  • VHF radio

  • EPIRB

  • PLB

  • Portable GPS

  • Satellite phone

  • Fire extinguishers

  • Flares

  • Waterproof charts

  • Extra bilge pump(s)

  • Buckets

  • Grab bag

  • Offshore life raft

  • Throwable flotation devices

  • First aid kit

  • Water and food

  • Sunscreen

  • Handheld VHF radio

  • Waterproof torch

  • Distress flag

  • Portable or fixed horn 

  • Bailer or heavy-duty bucket

  • Oars or paddles 

  • Second anchor with chain or line

  • Compass

  • Emergency steering

  • Recovery system for man overboard

  • Radar reflector 

  • Snorkel and mask to look at the boat underwater

  • Extra line

  • Sail repair kit

  • A plywood sheet and epoxy.

Remember that once you’re out on the ocean, hundreds of nautical miles from shore, you’re essentially on your own. There is no guarantee that the emergency services will be able to come out to you or another vessel will be nearby to help you out. You’ll need to have the necessary equipment, knowledge, and skills to get yourself back to safety. 

Routes

To plan your adventure, you will need to have a rough route in mind. You don’t have to schedule every stop before you set off, but you’ll want to make a general plan. 

If it’s your first circumnavigation, it’s safer to follow the most popular cruising routes and use the trade winds to move across oceans. This involves sailing westward around the world via the Panama Canal and either through the Suez Canal or by rounding South Africa. 

Once you have established which route to take, investigate the times of year when it’s best to take on the longer passages. For example, sailing from Europe to the Caribbean is safest between November and April.

Then, start listing out which countries you could possibly make landfall in. It’s good to have a list, so you can look into each and decide whether you’d like to stop there or not. Bear in mind that weather conditions, food stocks, and boat repairs will often dictate your schedule. You can adjust your course along the way, but you will need to be able to make landfall almost anywhere, so be prepared. 

We can’t go through all the potential routes you may take to sail around the world in this guide - many thick books were written about the subject. We recommend reading World Cruising Routes by Jimmy Cornell to get started. The books explain everything there is to know about the different passages. Cross reference them with pilot charts to choose your route and timing.

sailing around the world

Entering and exiting foreign countries

Each time you enter an overseas country, you need to check in the boat and crew. Procedures vary around the world and need to be researched in advance. The process usually goes like this.

You enter a country’s territorial waters and immediately raise the Q flag while heading to an official Port Of Entry without stopping, even if this inconveniences you. Some countries request that you give advance warning of your arrival. Once you get to the Port Of Entry, anchor or request a berth at the local marina.

After making landfall, you have a certain amount of hours (typically 24) to go complete clearance. In most cases, you will need to visit four offices:

  • Immigration

  • Customs

  • Quarantine

  • Port Control / Harbour master.

Each country has a preference in terms of what office you need to head to first. Bear in mind that not all the offices are close to each other. 

Officially, only the captain of the boat is allowed to set foot on land to check in. In some countries you’ll need to wear long trousers and a shirt when visiting these offices as a sign of respect.

To check in, you will need to show the documents we listed above, plus:

  • Passports of all crew with a valid visa (when required) and 6 months validity minimum

  • Port Clearance certificate from the previous country

  • Ship’s stamp (in some countries)

  • MMSI number

  • Crew list

  • Passport-sized photos of each person on board

  • Free Pratique from the last port (a certificate stating the boat is free from diseases) 

  • Photocopies of all documents.

In some countries, they request extra papers, such as a picture of the boat or proof that you have AIS capability.

Don’t forget to read up about the entry requirements for each country you’re headed to beforehand. Don’t rely on books - these quickly get out of date. Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit in 2020, entry rules have changed drastically and are often subject to sudden alterations. Some countries close their borders for long periods of time. The latest information on the regulations is available in English on websites such as Noonsite. It’s also helpful to join cruising Facebook groups for the area you’re travelling to and ask if anyone has more recent information. Not even websites get updated as quickly as things change.

Some countries don’t allow any produce in or to carry guns. Enter a country’s waters fully prepared to check in. Once you’re inside their territorial waters, you must comply with the local laws. 

After you’ve checked in, clearance officers may want to inspect your vessel (either at a dedicated dock or on their own boat), so make sure everything is shipshape. They’ll be looking for illegal drugs (including medicines), alcohol, drones, weapons, and more. Keep any prescriptions or licences on hand. Customs may decide to confiscate or hold some goods (such as drones or firearms) until you leave the country. Once the full check-in procedure is complete, you can lower the Q flag.

When you’re ready to leave a country, you will need to check out. Typically, you will have to go back to one or more of the offices you visited to get your Port Clearance document, which you will absolutely need to check in elsewhere. Make sure to find out how long you have to leave the country before you check out. You may be required to exit the territorial waters as soon as possible. 

Entering and exiting a country can be facilitated by a local agent, who can save you the hassle of visiting the different offices and queueing up. Bear in mind that in many cases, agents are known for charging large sums of money. In a few places, such as the Maldives, hiring an agent is necessary, though.

Safety

Safety is a concern many sailors share, especially if they plan to anchor out much of the time. The truth is that only a small percentage of people have the means to get to a boat on the water. In fact, burglaries and violent crimes are more common in low-security boatyards and marinas, which can be reached on foot.

Some countries are known for having higher crime rates against yachts. It’s up to you to interpret the data from safety and security networks and make informed decisions. You could avoid such areas altogether or increase your safety measures before setting sail.

For example, you can make your sailboat or tender less easy to break into or steal - a few heavy-duty locks and a couple of motion sensor lights do the trick most of the time. In higher risk areas, you may also want to invest in a motion sensor alarm and some hatch bars. 

No solution is 100% effective, though, so you should be aware of the threat and be vigilant. Remember that in most countries it’s forbidden to keep guns onboard a vessel.

Reaching financial independence 

Unless you can monetise your venture or work while cruising, you will need to be financially independent for years. For most people, being able to sail around the world means saving up for years or waiting until retirement.

Yet, more and more young people have started to work while circumnavigating. Below we have listed some ideas that could help you generate an income while sailing around the world.

sailing around the world

Seasonal jobs

You can leave your boat in a yard or marina and head home to work every now and then. This arrangement works well for people with seasonal jobs, such as scuba diving instructors, delivery captains, ski instructors, and more. If you’re in no rush, you can even stop in certain countries to obtain a work permit and work for a while.

Online work

Many young cruisers opt for working online - whether they freelance or have a remote job. This set-up is very convenient, as you can work from anywhere in the world with good internet connection. You will need to purchase local SIM cards in every country you visit and possibly buy satellite internet access. 

Be sure to check the legislation of a country before checking in. Many countries allow you to be a digital nomad for up to three months. After this time, you will need to either move on or register for a work visa. Other countries, such as the US, don’t allow visitors to work on American soil even remotely. 

Before accepting a remote job, make sure the company allows you to work from anywhere in the world - some businesses require you to be based in a specific geographical area to comply with certain laws.

Creating sailing content 

Another popular route for cruisers is to create sailing content, which you can either publish on social media as an influencer or sell to sailing magazines, stock video and photography providers, and more. 

Renting property

If you have bought property at home, you can rent it out or host it on AirBnB. Both options involve paying someone to look after the place, find new tenants, do check-ins and check-outs, and more. So in order to generate a good income, you’d likely need to own a few properties.

Sponsorship

If your circumnavigation is somewhat special, you could ask companies to sponsor you. This would entail things like providing education opportunities in some remote countries, collecting data for a sustainability project, and more.

Accessing the internet

Whether you plan to work from the yacht or not, you will need to have access to the internet to plan passages, check the marine weather forecast, keep in touch with family, and more.

When it comes to connecting to the web, you have three main options:

  • Connect to wi-fis based on land through a wi-fi booster

  • Use 4G data via a phone, tablet, or router

  • Purchase a satellite internet device.

All methods have pros and cons. Land-based wi-fis are free to use, but they tend to be slow and you need to go to shore to obtain the password. 4G data is very fast and fairly economical, but you need to buy a local SIM card in every country you visit. Satellite internet works anywhere, but it’s still rather expensive and slow.

Technology is evolving, so getting on the internet will become easier and easier.

sailing around the world

Paying tax

While you will likely become a nomad during your voyage, you will still need to pay tax - whether that’s on the money you earn or property back home. If selling your boat in a foreign country, check if you need to pay tax on the sale, too.

To keep things simple, aim to stay a tax resident of your home country - otherwise you will end up having to register to pay it in more than one country per year, which makes everything rather complicated. Moreover, not all countries have double-taxation conventions, so you may end up having to pay tax twice. 

Generating power

While circumnavigating, you can’t rely on your engine to generate energy. You will need to undertake long offshore passages, where you will need to keep the instruments, nav lights, and fridge on day and night. Your energy requirements will increase significantly.

You need to install a power system, which consists of a number of batteries and one or more energy generation systems, such as:

  • Solar panels

  • Wind turbines

  • Generators 

  • Hydro generators.

The set-up you choose depends on your energy requirements and vessel. Solar panels take up a lot of space, while a wind turbine needs vertical space at the stern. 

Whatever you decide, make sure to calculate your energy needs accurately, otherwise you may have to save energy by turning the fridge or radar off. It’s easier to upgrade your power system near home or by a big boating centre before your first long passage.

sailing around the world

What’s it like to sail around the world?

Sailing around the world is an adventure. Adventures are bold, somewhat risky undertakings, which push you beyond your comfort zone and make you grow. Circumnavigating is no exception. 

Along the way, you’ll collect a stream of exciting, invigorating, and exhilarating moments. You will also likely feel scared, uncomfortable, and bored every now and then. Time will slow down, so the days will feel longer. You will learn new things most weeks and get to know yourself better. Emotions will feel deep and you will have lots of time to reflect during long passages.

Expect to be challenged often by your vessel, the weather, local regulations, the sea state, and more. If you can, take it slow. Experience each place and broaden your horizons.

Tips for sailing around the world

Before we wrap this guide up, we want to share some tips with you, which will help you better plan your circumnavigation. 

Choose the boat carefully

Picking the right boat is fundamental for a comfortable, safe voyage. She needs to be big enough to provide enough space for you and your crew, but small enough to manoeuvre safely in a marina or harbour. 

All crew members need to be able to sail her solo. She needs to be comfortable underway, so people won’t get as seasick. Most importantly, she needs to be bluewater capable, so it can withstand the test of heavy weather conditions and wear and tear.

Take it slow

Unless you absolutely need to be back home by a certain date, circumnavigating is a lot less stressful if done on a very loose schedule. Try to be flexible and allow for changes of plan, so you can adapt to the circumstances and enjoy the ride more. 

Go with the flow - spend extra time in a country, skip that sail or anchorage, accept dinner invites. Do what you know will make you happier, because the chance will soon be gone.

Picking weather windows

Many sailors find it hard to postpone a passage when the weather is rough. Even if your plans don’t work out, it’s best that you avoid sailing in heavier conditions than you’re confident in.

Don’t save money on gear and maintenance

If you’re on a budget, opt for a smaller, simpler boat, anchoring out more often, and eating out less. Don’t skimp on gear, especially safety gear, and keep your boat maintained to a high standard. Nothing is more important than your safety. Your life and that of your crew depend on your equipment functioning well and your boat staying afloat. 

Don’t leave your boat unattended for long stretches of time

If you can, avoid leaving the boat and going home for months at a time in the tropics. The extreme UV radiation, heat, and humidity can dramatically reduce the life expectancy of your equipment above and below deck. 

If you need to leave your boat somewhere, choose a non-tropical area and haul her out to protect her hull from fouling too much. Allow for a long and rather expensive refit when you make your way back to her.

sailing around the world

Take crew

On longer, more challenging passages taking crew on board is great help. You can share shifts, as well as chores, like cooking. Feeling well-rested while sailing is extremely important, as it leads to making better decisions and handling stress more efficiently. 

You can either take friends and family on board to help you, or hire professional help. Don’t invite novice sailors along for the ride if you can - they will likely need to wake you in the middle of the night to reef the sails or ask about a light on the horizon. Only take as much crew as your boat can comfortably fit underway to avoid creating unnecessary stress on all crew members.

Satellite communication

While it’s still a rather expensive option, satellite communication is a fantastic technology. It allows you to have access to the weather forecast, alert the emergency services, get in touch with a doctor, keep your family up-to-date, and more. With more economical options available on the market these days, it’s an investment worth making.

sailing around the world

Perform MOB drills regularly

A Man Overboard situation tends to happen when you least expect it, so it’s essential to memorise what to do in such circumstances. Regular drills are the best way to make sure that everyone on board knows what to do. 

On top of this, of course you’ll need to wear a life jacket when the sailboat is underway and use a tether and harness to secure yourself to the boat. This is especially important in heavy weather conditions and when you’re on watch alone.

Always carry extra food and water

No matter where you are, it’s a good idea to have extra provisions on board at all times. Bad weather may not allow you to get to shore to go to the shops or your passage might take some days longer than it’s meant to. Long-life food doesn’t take up much space and you will never regret having it on board.

Have a base

Having a place to return to every now and then or when things go south is very important. It doesn’t need to be a property you own - it can be your parents’ place or your aunt’s holiday home. Knowing that if anything happens you have a safe place to go back to is priceless.

Keep up with healthcare

It’s tempting to stop going to the doctors altogether when you’re sailing around the world. Flights home cost money and private care can be expensive in certain countries. However, it’s very important that you stay healthy while circumnavigating. Regular check-ups pay off in the long run, when you don’t have to abandon plans due to a health emergency. Make time for adequate healthcare.

sailing around the world

Resources

There are countless resources you can tap into when it comes to planning a circumnavigation. Here is a list to start you off:

  • World cruising routes by Jimmy Cornell to plan your passages

  • World voyage planner by Jimmy and Ivan Cornell 

  • Reputable cruising guides and pilot books for each country you’re visiting

  • Modern marine weather by David Burch

  • Sailboat hull and deck repair by Don Casey

  • Complete Rigger's Apprentice by Brion Toss

  • Sailboat electrics simplified by Don Casey

  • Marine diesel engines by Nigel Calder

  • Don Casey’s complete illustrated sailboat maintenance manual by Don Casey

  • Nautical charts

  • Pilot charts

  • The Noonsite website to check country entry requirements, Ports Of Entry, and more

  • Legendary circumnavigators Lin and Larry Pardey’s books, such as Self Sufficient Sailor

  • Local Facebook groups for cruisers

  • Inspiring videos by YouTube sailing channels, such as Follow The Boat.


Don’t forget to download the Deckee app from the App Store or Google Play before setting off on your circumnavigation. Look up anchorages, supermarkets, diving spots, aids to navigation, and more on the map.

Track your passages and share float plans with friends and family. Set up reminders to get a notification when you need to renew your boat registration, service the engine, and more. The app will become an invaluable resource throughout your voyage.

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