Here’s the thing – circumnavigations never go to plan so it’s kind of a joke to even have one at all. We began our journey with a two-year plan which took us around South Africa due to the piracy problem off the Horn of Africa which has effectively closed the Suez Canal to cruising sailboats for the past two years. We faced several problems with this original plan which we note below, but primarily we found a two-year plan was way too ambitious and would have given us only very little time to see things on land. We revised our plan to a three-year plan with some modifications to our route. Now, as we sit in Australia in early 2014, we’re putting together a new route plan which will take us through the Suez Canal using a private security force to protect us during the 1700 mile piracy affected area surrounding Somalia. Although no cruising yachts have attempted this route since 2011 (to our knowledge anyway), we’re hopeful this will change in 2014 so we’re not blazing a new trail when we go through in early 2015. The benefit of our new plan through the Suez is that it will open up much more time in South East Asia, and put some more attractive destinations on our itinerary (Malaysia, Thailand, Maldives, Red Sea, and Isreal to name a few).
Our most recent plan (as of Jan 2014) looks like this:
For historical context, here was our original plan when we left Marmaris, Turkey in April 2012:
Our initial plan above proves how little we knew before starting this journey. Note the problems:
- It is almost impossible to sail around the world in two years and still have time to see anything – don’t try it.
- Trade winds make it much easier to enter the Caribbean at the south and work north through the islands.
- We assumed no time for boat repairs in Florida – that was delusional.
- You can’t go to Easter Island on the way from Panama to French Polynesia, it’s too far south.
- The northern latitude route (“3rd year” green line) has us blasting straight into the westerly trade winds crossing from Europe to US – misery would be the appropriate word. The third year will instead be spent completing the circumnavigation on a more realistic pace. Northern latitudes will need to wait for another year.
Our revised plan as of January 2013 looked like this: