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Old 09-07-2010, 18:58   #16
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I was just trying to get a rough idea of the number of people who do circumnavigate and explore solely by sailboat, whether by design or better yet just for the love of exploration. So a few hundred, that's a pretty amazing accomplishment. Fewer people scale everest (and its far easier, for the right money most people are hauled up the side of the mountain as luggage). The planning, the dedication, the pure grit of doing a sailing circumnavigation is amazing. I'm not detracting from those who make less journeys, I'm just pointing to that as the crown of cruising accomplishments.

I work with many whose ostensible job is to be an expert on different countries, and I guarantee that those who go to a country in a small boat, and explore the coast, have a far deeper understanding of the cultures of those countries than any "expert".

Hats off to them!
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Old 09-07-2010, 19:16   #17
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I honestly think there's too much focus on circumnavigation, and not enough on proper cruising. I'm amazed at the number of newcomers we get on this site who have decided to circumnavigate regardless of the fact that they have not yet learned to sail. These people tend to think that the first step is to find the right boat. A better first step might be to learn how to stand watch on an overnight passage. A good second step might be an ocean crossing. Or learning a language.
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Old 10-07-2010, 03:55   #18
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Originally Posted by Bash View Post
I honestly think there's too much focus on circumnavigation, and not enough on proper cruising. I'm amazed at the number of newcomers we get on this site who have decided to circumnavigate regardless of the fact that they have not yet learned to sail. These people tend to think that the first step is to find the right boat. A better first step might be to learn how to stand watch on an overnight passage. A good second step might be an ocean crossing. Or learning a language.
Well said, Bash!

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Old 11-07-2010, 08:57   #19
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I honestly think there's too much focus on circumnavigation, and not enough on proper cruising. I'm amazed at the number of newcomers we get on this site who have decided to circumnavigate regardless of the fact that they have not yet learned to sail. These people tend to think that the first step is to find the right boat. A better first step might be to learn how to stand watch on an overnight passage. A good second step might be an ocean crossing. Or learning a language.
Absolutely on the language, but since that takes time, might as well work on the boat stuff at the same time.
But it will be hard standing watch overnight, or crossing an ocean, if you don't yet have a boat. And if you're going to buy one, might as well be the "right" one. I suspect that is the motivation behind those questions.

That said, I do think too much is made of the "circumnavigation" as a goal. Seems too much like a "check it off" kind of thing, to be able to say you did it; kind of like Mt Everest as someone else cited. But a fair number of those people I suspect start out intending a neat circumnavigation, then end up just sort of drifting off track as they find other places that interest them, and it ends up being not so neat (although they probably do get all the way around eventually).
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Old 11-07-2010, 10:50   #20
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Its only a failure if that is your goal. For many cruisers, I think its just something that ends up happening, unplanned at the beginning. I know of one cruising couple who are doing this.

Therefore I think a failure would be a far smaller category than those who started heading that way and lost their vessel or decided not to, or could not, or did not for some other reason.
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Old 11-07-2010, 10:59   #21
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Originally Posted by Bash View Post
I honestly think there's too much focus on circumnavigation, and not enough on proper cruising. I'm amazed at the number of newcomers we get on this site who have decided to circumnavigate regardless of the fact that they have not yet learned to sail. These people tend to think that the first step is to find the right boat. A better first step might be to learn how to stand watch on an overnight passage. A good second step might be an ocean crossing. Or learning a language.
Agree though not sure what "proper" cruising is Maybe thereīs too much focus on circumnavigating and not enough on having a really got time living and sailing a boat for an undetermed length of time. Which may or may not involve going all the way, you will never know until you get out there for a while. Long term planning is a bad thing, you canīt predict the future!
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Old 11-07-2010, 11:05   #22
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A
But it will be hard standing watch overnight, or crossing an ocean, if you don't yet have a boat. And if you're going to buy one, might as well be the "right" one. I suspect that is the motivation behind those questions.
I don't think, when you are just learning the ropes that you really will benefit from trying to buy a vessel capable of circumnavigating right out the shoot. You don't know what you don't know as it were.

but if you buy a starter boat and sail alot and learn everything you can from her then when you begin to really know what you need and want you will be in a much better situation to go find that perfect for you boat.

You don't start a kid learning to drive in a race car. or a semi. nice little sedan or coupe. I think maybe it's the same with boats.
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Old 07-07-2011, 19:38   #23
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Re: How Many People Complete a Circumnavigation Each Year by Sail?

I'm halfway through my Circumnavigation and have a few opinions regarding statistics about circumnavigations. I was actually surfing the net here from my boat in Bali Indonesia just about to take off across the Indian Ocean and out of curiosity wondered how many boats and single-handers actually circumnavigate then I found this thread.

IMHO... I don't think it is possible to get an exact number of boats circumnavigating each year but I agree that the numbers are probably between 200 and 400, and maybe 5-10% of those are single-handers, probably closer to 5%. (I'm not talking about any official qualifications, just normal cruisers). Yes, a lot of yachts transiting the canals and other world bottle-necks are counted, but a significant number of those boats are not circumnavigating. The real hard question to answer is how many boats fail to complete their circumnavigation and why, those statistics are nearly impossible to find. From very casual observations over the past few years I would GUESS that AROUND 1-3% of the yachts making trans-ocean passages don't make it, or at least their captains, yes I mean they die. I remember during my Pacific crossing at least TWO out of maybe 100 boats i was aware of where the skipper died or the boat and crew disappeared. If you factor in the recent stats considering the known recent Pirate attacks the numbers are even worse. One interesting thing I noticed (I hope I don't get attacked for posting my opinion / observations here) is that the vast majority boats that I know of where they disappeared or the captain did not survive the passage were single handers, male, and over 50 years old. Some had medical problems, for example partial use of legs, or were medicated for various problems common in people 50-70+ years old and I'm sure, 100% sure this affected there judgement, abilities, etc. Some were alcoholics. And somewhat ironically I know of a handful of single handed sailors that suffered fatal accidents at anchorages or marinas (mostly dinghy related), so your chances of not completing a complete ocean passage or circumnavigation is not necessarily just offshore on passage (that might only represent 50% of the risk factor!). Another boat disappeared apparently just a few miles offshore (sunk?) So from my observations, if you were over 50, on any serious medication or an alcoholic, and crossing an ocean solo, you are certainly in a much higher-risk bracket. Having said all that, if you are fit, competent, prepared and experienced, I think the risk is very marginal regardless of age. Now that brings another point, if lets say only 50% of the people failing to make ocean passages (or circumnavigations) are male single-handlers, then the "death" risk or success rate for couples on crewed boats are overwhelmingly safe, maybe 99+% success on ocean passages and 98%+ on circumnavigations (Keep in mind I am GUESSING these statistics but they are based on real observations).

Now the boring numbers, boats that don't succeed due to the owners abandoning the attempt to circumnavigate. This number might be around 10-25%, but truthfully I don't know. My observations are that most yachts failing to complete their circumnavigations are due to common simple reasons like 1) Just tired or worn out from sailing, maybe after an ugly passage, or just too many passages or not being able to maintain the same type of lifestyle they were used to. 2) Couples or crew not getting along, I forgot who said "your friends at home on shore might not be your friends at sea...". 3) Finance, a LOT of people underestimate the cost of cruising and are not willing to continue on with the limited budget so they have to work (sometimes involving a trip home and leaving the boat) many never to return to their circumnavigation. 4) Lastly I've seen people end their cruise early because of family concerns or death of parents or irresistible job offers, love, health, fear, the list goes on and on.

Okay, sorry didn't plan on writing a long editorial here but I thought this info might be of some use or at least interesting to someone that are not "Out here actually doing it (yet)" If you want to here more about my Circumnavigation, my blog is SailingSalsa dot com.
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Old 07-07-2011, 20:45   #24
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Re: How Many People Complete a Circumnavigation Each Year by Sail?

Thanks Kirk...
And welcome to CF.
Very interesting observations and thoughts.
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Old 08-07-2011, 06:14   #25
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Re: How Many People Complete a Circumnavigation Each Year by Sail?

Hi Kirk

I think you have made good estimations.

3 people here have died in solo-sailor dinghy accidents since January, that I know of: 1 in St Martin and 2 in Grenada. In 2 islands in the Caribbean thats just crazy! All 3 were at night, alcohol may have been a factor.

Of the aprox 100 boats we met in Tonga in 2008 4 sank within a year, but without loss of life.

I would be very surprised if 400 boats complete a circumnavigation each year, but I agree it would be in the lower level of your range. My guess would be 200 before the Red Sea troubles, and for the next year say, 100.

Solo sailors are, by generalisation, single men in their 50's or older. 95% of them, I'd think. Of those I agree that there would be higher incidence of alcoholism, medical problems and associated with lower economic capacity have smaller, older and inherently (in my opinion) seaworthy boats with maybe less safety equipment on board.

Remember, if an older guy who does not take care of his health dies, it is just as likely he would have died in his home as much as the chance of dying on a boat. Sailing is more healthy, indeed it might be 'just what the doctor ordered'.

You will find when you complete your circumnavigation that people will congratulate you, and you'll say something like: 'Thanks but its no big deal'. In some ways completing it isn't a big deal, but when you add the few who do complete, add the disasters faced by others along the way, the deaths, and the hassles.... and everything else.... and it is a bigger deal that what we feel.

Enjoy the rest of your circumnavigation and minimise the risks without minimising the fun
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Old 08-07-2011, 09:03   #26
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Re: How Many People Complete a Circumnavigation Each Year by Sail?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bash View Post
I honestly think there's too much focus on circumnavigation, and not enough on proper cruising. I'm amazed at the number of newcomers we get on this site who have decided to circumnavigate regardless of the fact that they have not yet learned to sail. These people tend to think that the first step is to find the right boat. A better first step might be to learn how to stand watch on an overnight passage. A good second step might be an ocean crossing. Or learning a language.
I concur with this. My wife and I have done two separate ocean deliveries each and would like to do two more before we push off. At the same time, we are taking the sort of courses (electrical, diesel, nav.) and doing the sort of local sailing (challenging) in our "play" boat to keep up our sailing skills.

Our kid is in sail camp and is learning French and Spanish....poorly, but it's a start.
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Old 08-07-2011, 11:05   #27
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Re: How Many People Complete a Circumnavigation Each Year by Sail?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bash View Post
I honestly think there's too much focus on circumnavigation, and not enough on proper cruising. I'm amazed at the number of newcomers we get on this site who have decided to circumnavigate regardless of the fact that they have not yet learned to sail. These people tend to think that the first step is to find the right boat. A better first step might be to learn how to stand watch on an overnight passage. A good second step might be an ocean crossing. Or learning a language.
I agree. But how many of those people actually follow through on it? I suspect the figure is something well south of 5 percent.

And ... frankly, I am a little surprised at how much encouragement is meted out to those who obviously have no clue. When the first question is "what boat do I need to circumnavigate?" and the next question is "what is the difference between a sloop and a ketch?" (I am only being slightly tongue-in-cheek here ...), the answer should not be "Just go for it, dude!"
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Old 08-07-2011, 11:51   #28
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Re: How Many People Complete a Circumnavigation Each Year by Sail?

I for you don't want to circumnavigate. But I do want to see the various sights so that means I may have to.

I wonder how many people who "fail" are because their goal was to curcumnavigate and not to cruise/see the sights?
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Old 08-07-2011, 12:00   #29
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Re: How Many People Complete a Circumnavigation Each Year by Sail?

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I agree. But how many of those people actually follow through on it? I suspect the figure is something well south of 5 percent.

And ... frankly, I am a little surprised at how much encouragement is meted out to those who obviously have no clue. When the first question is "what boat do I need to circumnavigate?" and the next question is "what is the difference between a sloop and a ketch?" (I am only being slightly tongue-in-cheek here ...), the answer should not be "Just go for it, dude!"
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Old 08-07-2011, 12:08   #30
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Re: How Many People Complete a Circumnavigation Each Year by Sail?

G'Day All,

Well, here's a report from a "failure"!

When Ann and I set out from SF in 1986 our goal was to cruise for a long time... as long as it was fun and we were having a good time of it. We thought that we might well circumnavigate in carrying out this highly specific plan, but it wasn't a goal in itself.

Fast forward a few years: we reach the South Pacific, and find that the sort of cruising afforded by this region was what we really liked. Pacific islands in the "cruising season", Australia or New Zealand in the cyclone season. We spoke to a number of folks who had finished their RTWs, and who said that they wished that they had stayed in the SP.

We still enjoy that gig. We're both in our 70's now, and realistically we are unlikely to finish a circumnavigation. Further, we have no desire to be back in California with a boat these days, so why bother? Do we feel that we have "failed"? Hell no! We have lived the life we wanted, and are still doing so.

Cheers,
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