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Old 02-07-2013, 17:59   #1
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Cruising route for circumnavigation -- Eastern US to SE Asia

What do you think is the fastest route on a cruising sailboat, from the eastern US (where boats are cheapest) or Canadian seaboard--say, Maine or Nova Scotia, to the cheap cruising grounds of SE Asia? For, say, the $500 or $499.99 a month cruiser?

There's the Med and the Suez, but pirates, the canal, yada. Panama, also a canal. To the Azores and down the African coast, across the Indian Ocean, but then you're going the wrong way. Down around Cape Horn, the logical route, like Slocum?

What do you think?
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Old 02-07-2013, 18:05   #2
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Re: Cruising route for circumnavigation -- Eastern US to SE Asia

With the current polar melt and climate change, be patient and the Northern Passage will be the shortest route.
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Old 02-07-2013, 18:06   #3
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Re: Cruising route for circumnavigation -- Eastern US to SE Asia

It is a long way and you will spend a lot of money getting there. There are lots of boats for sale in Asia and surrounding areas. Your best bet may be to buy there and stay there.

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Old 02-07-2013, 19:02   #4
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Re: Cruising route for circumnavigation -- Eastern US to SE Asia

Yeah, but hypothetically. Say you have the perfect boat on the east coast for free. The northern passage is certainly the shortest route, but is it fastest??? (It may take a while for all that ice to melt. At least enough to not worry about punching a hole through the hull of a steel monohull--but then again, the latest science could be right and I could be wrong.)
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Old 02-07-2013, 19:21   #5
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Re: Cruising route for circumnavigation -- Eastern US to SE Asia

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Originally Posted by melissajenks View Post
Yeah, but hypothetically. Say you have the perfect boat on the east coast for free. The northern passage is certainly the shortest route, but is it fastest??? (It may take a while for all that ice to melt. At least enough to not worry about punching a hole through the hull of a steel monohull--but then again, the latest science could be right and I could be wrong.)
I said it tongue in cheek this year, but next year who knows. In the Merchant Marine circles plans are in place for when it opens up.
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Old 02-07-2013, 19:37   #6
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Re: Cruising route for circumnavigation -- Eastern US to SE Asia

Did you read this article in the New Yorker about a journalist who went with the second cargo ship to go through? A Journey Through the Melting Ice of the Arctic Seas : The New Yorker No, it's seriously no joke. I'm already involved in carbon activism and I think it's one of the best arguments for the cruising lifestyle (sailing: wind-powered for 2000 years!) and it'd be cool to be one of the first cruising boats through, whatever it says for the future of civilization.

I still don't think it's fastest, though. You have the whole east coast of Russia and China to navigate, and the route's unknown and probably uncharted, and you have to navigate through icebergs. And wouldn't there be the same difficult weather conditions as in the southern ocean? Although, looking at the map--you could jump up Greenland to Iceland and take off from Russia's Kola Peninsula and head across pretty quick...
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Old 02-07-2013, 19:39   #7
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Re: Cruising route for circumnavigation -- Eastern US to SE Asia

The sea is not a highway, you can't just pull onto the shoulder and go to sleep when you are tired. Fastest route halfway around the world? Starts by making plans for at least one more crew to accompany you on the whole route. Otherwise, the fastest route will be one that lets you make landfall and anchor someplace, every ten hours or so.
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Old 02-07-2013, 19:40   #8
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Re: Cruising route for circumnavigation -- Eastern US to SE Asia

I would say the standard route through Panama, French Polynesia, north of Australia and through Indonesia to Malaysia et al. Budget can be thrown by the costs of the canal, fees in FP unless you have an EU passport, and Australia. This is also the easiest way, but that is not the same as easy. Would be nice to stretch the budget for the Galapagos.
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Old 02-07-2013, 21:12   #9
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Re: Cruising route for circumnavigation -- Eastern US to SE Asia

Think Great Circle for shortest passage. I used to ship out of the Port of Tacoma for 5 ports in Japan and our Great Circle track would take us through the Aleutian Islands twice.
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Old 02-07-2013, 22:58   #10
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Re: Cruising route for circumnavigation -- Eastern US to SE Asia

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..and it'd be cool to be one of the first cruising boats through, whatever it says for the future of civilization..
Cruising boats have been sailing the NW passage for a couple years already, a long line of them in fact. These guys took 2 summers to do it, I think there's only a 3 month weather window.

The clipper ship route Europe to Asia was always via Cape of Good Hope, roaring forties along the southern ocean then up the coast of W. Australia, tail wind all the way. Want a good ship though, nothing merely "patched up". Conditions are a bit fierce.. Which is why most do the milk run thru Panama and the more placid but longer Pacific route.
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