Hello to the OP. I've also wanted to sail solo around the world since I was 16. I'm 30 now and I still haven't done it! Here's where I went wrong:
I tried to get on a career path that would make me enough money to buy a nice catamaran
. I wasted time in college, only earning an AA in photography
, before learning
that nothing I could take in college would help me sail around the world.
I tried to join the Coast Guard. That wasn't a waste of time and I really wished it had panned out. I did delayed entry to do basic training in the summer instead of winter and in the meantime got such an ear infection that I needed (a disqualifying) surgery.
I tried to become a Helicopter Flight Instructor but after 18 months of training I was half-way to my commercial license
(only a few months to go, then a few more for flight-instructor) and the school
went bankrupt. The bank still says I owe them $70k for that lack of an education.
Basically, I did ancillary things to my goal, and they all wasted my time. Here's how you do it by the time you graduate HS:
Step 1) Read Read Read Read Read.
20 Small sailboats to take you anywhere
20 Affordable Sailboats to take you anywhere
By the Grace of the Sea <-- Solo circumnavigation
by Pat Henry, a lady who learns to paint
along the way and thus funds her trip.
Treacherous Waters <-- Sailing aint always fun.
Project BlueSphere - A solo circumnavigation & video documentation of the globe
Alex Dorsey's website. He started on a West Sail 28 and went from New England
, then sold the boat and bought a 41' Cheoy Lee
in FL, fixed it up, and is now in the San Blas.
<-- Female live-aboard artist (painter) in the Keys, right now. Go talk to her, she'll likely be a great resource to you!
Step 2) Don't incur any debt!
Exception to this is if that debt is the boat itself. At 16 if you have a steady income
you might find someone to owner-finance a boat to you. I did at 18 and paid it off in a year. It's not the boat I have now, though, which was also owner financed!
Step 3) Save money! As much as you can as fast as you can. It's a buyers market right now and if you've got cash in hand you would not believe the deals to be had. I've got a world-cruising capable boat that I paid a mere $9k for. It will likely take $10k in repairs
and upgrades before I'm ready to go, but if I wasn't in "Pay off Debt" mode that would equal about one years worth of working on the boat! Sometimes you can buy a ready-to-go boat for that same $10k!
Step 4) Slight exception to Step 2- buy something small to learn on. If it's a catamaran
, then 14' is perfect for a single-hander. Anything bigger and you can't right it yourself. A Hobie Wave with a jib
would be great, a Trac 14 with a jib
would be good as well. If it's a monohull
you can look at a wider range of sizes, but I'd stick between 14' and 24'. Preferably a main-and-jib boat. In the 20-24' range you could even find boats to sail around the world on!
Step 5) Buy a bigger boat. This could still be 20-24' but something with the build quality
to take going offshore
. The Flika was already mentioned, the Aquarius Pilot Cutter
(24') isn't as well known but is a fabulous little boat. I'm on the hunt for a Cal
20 or 25 to practice on while fixing up my larger boat, as these have similar handling characteristics. As you approach the 30' range your selection of able boats will grow immensely, as will the selection of unable boats. Weeding them out is a tough job.
Look at the old cruising trimarans. The Cross, Searunner
, and Tristar boats are all very capable vessles if you find a well-built one. For single-handing I'd prefer the Searunner
designs as the center-cockpit with mast stepped right in the cockpit
means all the lines are already lead to the cockpit! The 34 is a fantastic boat! For monohulls, my ideal boat is a Freedom Cat-Ketch. The 28, 33, or 40. This is due to lower operating (maintenance) costs associated with a free-standing mast.
Step 5) Practice cruising. Crew on other peoples boats, take your own boat on week-long voyages. Head
to the Bahamas