15,000 nm and counting - Washington
state to Mexico
to South Pacific
. Sold boat in New Zealand
to Australians. Boat now in Turkey
so still going strong (Whitby 42). Just bought new 1981 Goldenwave 42 to start over again.
My experience - tons of people out there, many multiple times, and/or just do it all the time (literally). Percentage of population is small but hundreds out at any given time. Some go out a hundred miles and hang it up. Some hang it up after going to Mexico
and hating it, or the spouse hates it, or they run out of money
, or they get bored, or don't like boat maintenance
and fixing the boat.
We loved it 99% of the time. Don't have any fear of going out but have tons of respect for Mother Nature. Not for everyone but it is for many. There are tons of armchair sailors though, and many are free to give "expert" advice, and in a way it is hard to tell unless you ask them point blank. Many of the best and longest cruisers don't bother with websites like this. In Anacortes you run into current
and ex sailors, many who rounded this planet, and many more who have only gone to Mexico and/or Alaska
. Both of those are "coastal" cruising but respectable voyages in their own right. Being 1000nm out is definitely a game
changer though. We loved it but weren't sure until we actually did it. You won't either.