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Old 08-07-2010, 11:14   #1
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How Many People Complete a Circumnavigation Each Year by Sail?

I'm just curious about a guesstimate from those who've seen families and they themselves have done it. I think it's one of the most amazing accomplishments anyone can make.
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Old 08-07-2010, 11:17   #2
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I guess to define terms
length must be at least 21,600 nm calculated along the shortest possible track from the starting port and back that does not cross land and does not go below 63S. It is allowed to have one single waypoint to lengthen the calculated track. The equator must be crossed and it crosses every meridian.
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Old 08-07-2010, 11:33   #3
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I'm just curious about a guesstimate from those who've seen families and they themselves have done it. I think it's one of the most amazing accomplishments anyone can make.
Probably more than you would guess . . . very roughly 200-300 boats/year. You can figure that by looking at the traffic thru the 'choke points' along the main routes route.
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Old 08-07-2010, 12:02   #4
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Schoonerdog makes a good point - it very much depends on what you mean by a "circumnavigation." When we were cruising the the Caribbean we met at least 4 couples who had "circumnavigated" - meaning they had crossed all meridians and returned to their starting point, or at least crossed their outbound line. All of them used the Panama Canal - none of them had sailed around the Horn; none of them cared about antipodes; all of them took at least 4 years to do it; and none of them were in any particular hurry. For them, sailing around the world was more of an excuse than a goal. There were no fireworks or headlines, and they wouldn't want any. As long as using the Canals is OK, they probably all met the definition, but they didn't care. For people like that, I think Estarzinger's estimate is probably in the ballpark.
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Old 08-07-2010, 13:09   #5
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... it very much depends on what you mean by a "circumnavigation." ...
What about this one?
Here ➥ Expedition 360 - Definition of a True Circumnavigation
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Old 08-07-2010, 13:40   #6
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What about this one?
Hmmm. I guess you can circumnavigate on dirt. It would be better if you were portaging a canoe or kayak. But yeah, works for me.

Our South African friends sailed from Florida to Nassau, and from there to the Azores and the Med. They did not use the Suez Canal - after some months they sailed back to the Atlantic and down the west coast of Africa to South Africa. Thereafter, they continued on to S.E. Asia, Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific, etc. Eventually, they went through the Panama Canal west to east, up the Caribbean coast of Central America, on to the Bahamas, and then down the Thornless Path to the Leeward/Windward chain. They probably sailed something like 40,000 nm; they crossed all meridians; they crossed the Equator at least 4 times; they crossed their outbound line; but they never returned to their starting point - neither Florida nor Nassau. That works for me too.
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Old 08-07-2010, 14:21   #7
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So, other than the weenies at Guiness, who really gives a damn about those rather artificial definitions of a circumnavigation? If you start out going west and eventually arrive back at or near your origin coming from the east, crossing all the meridians, I accept that you have sailed around the world. But I don't particularly care -- if you have sailed a lot of miles, spent a lot of time at sea, had a good time and some adventures along the way, and are still at peace with the sea and the boat, well, you get my definite approval as a sailor.

Meanwhile, I know that Latitude 38 maintains a list of circumnavigators from the west coast, and the SSCA has circumnavigation "awards" (whoopie), so data bases are available for your perusal. Note that in both cases, the lists only include folks who cared enough to send in their names. Many don't!

Cheers,

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Manly Qld Oz
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Old 08-07-2010, 16:42   #8
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I know a number of circumnavigators and if they hadn't been seduced by demon rum and a great sunset, I'd have never known. To me, there are two kinds of circumnavigators: those who have to brag or publish it; and the rest who take quiet pride in the accomplishment.
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Old 08-07-2010, 16:56   #9
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I once saw one of those needle point sampler things on a salon bulkhead. It said: "Around the World in 80 Months."
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Old 08-07-2010, 17:01   #10
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I believe a lot of sailors/cruiser are in various stages of their circumnavigation. Some do it in a few years, others in 20 years...
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Old 08-07-2010, 18:01   #11
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What you never hear about are the people that quit or fail. I find their reasons helpful and interesting.
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Old 08-07-2010, 19:02   #12
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I've met people who got tired of cruising and decided to do something else. I've also met people who had setbacks like wrecked boats or financial disasters. I've also met more than a few people who found their paradise and decided to stay. I don't say they don't exist, but I've never actually met anyone who failed. I guess, if you're cruising, you're not likely to. And I don't think that most real cruisers who set out to circumnavigate consider something short of that to be a failure.
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Old 08-07-2010, 19:56   #13
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Lets not get hung up in rhetoric. The number of people who start the journey but never end up where they started are tremendous. Yet, everyone loves "success" stories. Well, I get tired of that expectation and focus and want to hear from the others since generally there seems to be more life in their "experiences" that I can learn from and possibly mature from when I go again out on mine.

Want to circumnavigate? Fine. nonstops: From SF to Sydney; From Sydney to Cape Town; From Cape Town to Panama or Chile; From Panama or Chile to SF. Where's the story?
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Old 09-07-2010, 08:25   #14
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Sorry, I thought you were trying to make some sort of distinction between quitting and failing, and I just wasn't getting it.

I think that cruisers who set out to leisurely sail around the world quit or fail for pretty much the same reasons as other cruisers who never had such a goal. In the Bahamas/Caribbean the two big ones seemed to health and some variation on burn out - just no longer fun living on the boat.

All cruises come to an end one way or another. And some of the reasons are pretty easy to find online. For logs from some multi year cruisers who quit go here:

BoatUS Cruising Logs

BoatUS Cruising Logs

Some people sort of semi retire and only live on the boat for half the year:

http://www.wind-borne.com/Journal.htm
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Old 09-07-2010, 08:28   #15
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Nice Slomotion. This should be fun to read.
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