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Old 31-10-2012, 14:49   #1
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How to Plan a Circumnavigation?

Our small family is planning a circumnavigation five years hence. We'll be in no hurry (three or four years, maybe more..) I'm just wondering if someone can direct me to some resources that will help us plan our rough route and build a little excitement!! Maybe there's something we can use as a template for planning. I'm as interested in the timing as well as the geographical location (eg. I don't want to be in the carribean during hurricane season!) Thanks for any help you can provide!
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Old 31-10-2012, 14:55   #2
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Re: How to plan a circumnavigation??

Beth Leonard's book has a great section on seasons and routes for circumnavigators. It also contains loads of useful information for would-be cruisers.

Good luck!
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Old 31-10-2012, 15:03   #3
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Re: How to plan a circumnavigation??

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Originally Posted by enovillo View Post
Beth Leonard's book has a great section on seasons and routes for circumnavigators. It also contains loads of useful information for would-be cruisers.

Good luck!
There are a lot of blogs by circumnavigators, or would-be navigators.

My reading has indicated a few common features:

1) That there is often a rush to move from one location to the next in an effort to stay ahead of seasonal changes. Arriving late, or staying long results in a lost window and could completely disrupt the "circumnavigation" agenda

2) That the circumnavigation goal is often given up in favor of a leisurely and relaxing cruising lifestyle

3) That the kinds of boats best suited for circumnavigation are not the same boats that are best suited for family living

4) That the locations on a conventional cirumnavigation route may not be the locations you are most interested in visiting

I guess my conclusion from this is that you should introspect yourself to determine if you are a cruiser or a circumnavigator, and that you will likely be in for a lot of compromising if you try to be both
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Old 31-10-2012, 15:18   #4
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Re: How to plan a circumnavigation??

That's interesting ArtM. I think our goal is really just to see as much of the world as posssible. The act of crossing every meridian is really not important. Are you suggesting though, that we just pick a single region and cruise about?
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Old 31-10-2012, 15:28   #5
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Re: How to plan a circumnavigation??

Three or four years to see the world seems like a bit of a rushed trip to me.

My wife and I are planning a year to a year and a half just for the East Coast of the US. That even seems a bit rushed, so we may take longer.

You'll need to decide where you want to go, and what you want to do when you get there.

Is your trip just to say you did it, or do you really want to learn about different cultures while you're traveling?

Having the experience for your kids will be good for them, and a great addition to their home schooling. They will learn a lot more from the adventure than they ever could from any biased school system!

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Old 31-10-2012, 15:29   #6
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Re: How to plan a circumnavigation??

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Originally Posted by tmoandj View Post
That's interesting ArtM. I think our goal is really just to see as much of the world as posssible. The act of crossing every meridian is really not important. Are you suggesting though, that we just pick a single region and cruise about?
I'm trying not to make a suggestion, but I have read of several circumnavigators coming to that conclusion on their own.

Over time, you might in fact circumnavigate as a result of selecting different regions of the world to cruise about in at different times.

By removing circumavigation as a primary or necessary goal, I believe that you will look at the problem and it's solutions differently. How differently? I don't have experience in this area, only have read some accounts of others...
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Old 31-10-2012, 17:44   #7
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Re: How to plan a circumnavigation??

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Originally Posted by ArtM View Post
3) That the kinds of boats best suited for circumnavigation are not the same boats that are best suited for family living
Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtM View Post
I guess my conclusion from this is that you should introspect yourself to determine if you are a cruiser or a circumnavigator, and that you will likely be in for a lot of compromising if you try to be both
This is a really cool perspective. Thank you for sharing it.

I'd like to add that this kind of introspection is hard, even for folks who have done it before. My wife and I know what we liked last time, but have little clue about what we will want next time. We have a list of places we'd like to see again, or for the first time, but most of what drives our plan is the kind of experiences we want next, and that evolves and changes quite a bit.

So I suggest that the 'default' idea should be to keep options wide open, unless you are quite sure you know what you want to do. To me that means a boat that could be made ready for a circumnavigation, but doesn't have to be ready before you start. It just needs good lines and large details, and all the little details can be figured out as they become necessary to go somewhere specific.

The joke in Mexico is that, after the two year high tempo circumnavigation, people realize that the best cruising in the world really is on a 36' trawler in the Sea of Cortez.
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Old 31-10-2012, 18:09   #8
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Re: How to plan a circumnavigation??

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My wife and I certainly know what we liked last time, but have little clue about what we will do next time. We have a list of places we'd like to see again, or for the first time, but those are just places. Most of what drives our plan is the kind of experiences we want next, and that depends on parts of ourselves that we have not figured out, and seems to change and evolve.
My experience is with campers and motorhomes. My family and I traded for a different style every 2 or 3 years, depending on where we were in our lives. We started in a 16' motorhome on 2-6 week stints, upgraded to a larger model when we had our kids, moved up further to a 50' truck/trailer combination for full-time cruising, then back down to small series of popup campers when we moved back into the fixed-location home.

In the $30,000-$20,000 price range, that's highly feasible. Campers are easy to trade, widely available, and generally easy to negotiate price. In the 200,000 to 500,000 range, it seems more important to get it right "the first time" and get that "forever boat". That means not only knowing the right price and size to purchase, but also knowing in advance what the costs of ownership and operation are going to be! It's a very tricky business, in comparison.
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Old 31-10-2012, 18:11   #9
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Re: How to plan a circumnavigation??

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Originally Posted by msponer View Post
The joke in Mexico is that, after the two year high tempo circumnavigation, people realize that the best cruising in the world really is on a 36' trawler in the Sea of Cortez.
I know it's not funny if you have to explain it....


... but could you explain it? I think I get it, but I'm missing some detail
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Old 31-10-2012, 18:26   #10
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Re: How to plan a circumnavigation??

I am not sure you have to plan anything. You need a safe and comfortable boat and some water and food. And you need a family that will jump into the adventure. Otherwise, I think, you just take off from a place called home, then keep on sailing Westwards or Eastwards for long enough to get you back to more or less the same spot and that's that.

Things like you said hurricanes are nasty, but then again that's what we have the insurance for. Just fly home for the hurricane time and make sure your agent accepts the place you lay up the boat. If they do, and she is written off, then you end up with a new boat (beware this trick may work only once with some agents).

Take credit cards. They help in circumnavigating much more than any other single factor. Your credit card is welcome everywhere and recognized by all, even the least civilized cultures.

Five years is a long horizon anyways.

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Old 31-10-2012, 18:55   #11
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Re: How to plan a circumnavigation??

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I know it's not funny if you have to explain it....
(
Oh, then maybe it's not funny.

When leaving from California, folks on a fast paced circumnavigation tend to bypass the Sea of Cortez on their way around the world, and then, when they return from far off places realize that, in many ways, the best place for them was right under their nose at the very start of their trip. And more, that probably the best boat for the Sea of Cortez is a small trawler, not the sailboat they spent years (and a small fortune) preparing for a circumnavigation.

Of course, there are all kinds of situations, and the Sea of Cortez is perfect only when measured within a specific set of goals: inexpensive, beautiful, warm water, mellow weather, short distances, easy access to America, easily found deserted beaches, and etc.

So I agree with you completely, that the whole endeavor is much easier if you know what you are looking for. My less coherent thought, and that joke, is that it's hard to know what it is.
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Old 31-10-2012, 19:28   #12
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Re: How to plan a circumnavigation??

When my wife and I started cruising in 2005, we were planning to circumnavigate eastwise in about 5 years with the immediate goal of circumnavigating the Caribbean first. We made it from Seattle to St. Martin in 4 years but have been in the USVI for the past two years.

We are now looking at going "down island" this year, go back through the Panama Canal, then cruise the South Pacific. After that, we may head back to Sea of Cortez or stay in Australia.

The moral of this story supports msponer's position that cruising and circumnavigating quickly are really two different lifestyles.
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Old 31-10-2012, 20:29   #13
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Re: How to plan a circumnavigation??

To the OP- READ,READ,READ..not just the blogs,etc, but there are tons of books and resources out there,Hint(I figured this out early in our planning)- if it's a resource (Pilot guides,etc) get it in paper. If not- electronic...otherwise, you will have a zillion books that you will have to sell before you go- no room on the boat
We are three years away, and although the whole circumnavigation thing sounds cool, when we look at it, we still see regions as the real appeal. The Carib, Med,South Pacific, West coast of Mexico, etc. No interest in rounding South Africa or dodging pirates, so out come the pilot charts- how do we go to Europe and the Med and then come back? Same thinking with South Pacific, how do we add cool things that would usually be missed in a 'normal' circumnav?
As far as the realizing the Sea of Cortez was 'it', I took off as a teenager and managed to achieve my crazy goal over 3 summers of going to every state/prov in Canada/USA (other than Hawai) on my motorcycle. For our 20th anniversary, my wife and I went west to Colorado south to NM and back through Texas,OK, et al on our Harley. I was amazed at the stuff that I 'SAW' this time, that apparently I blew right past the first time, and never really noticed. So I completely get that...and that time was WAY better than the first
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Old 02-11-2012, 16:59   #14
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Re: How to plan a circumnavigation??

I would suggest that if you want to circumnavigate quickly you should join the World Arc. That will get you around in less than 2 years. Then you can decide where you want to spend a lot more time and head out the 2nd time to do just that at a more leisurely pace.

The World Arc route is posted on their web site so you can use that as a guide. If you plan to do it leisurely and on your own then just look at their route up to Bali and disregard the trip around S. Africa. Their route is the standard route for a circumnavigation and can be used to guide you.

Best of luck!
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Old 02-11-2012, 17:38   #15
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Re: How to plan a circumnavigation??

The movie, If It's Tuesday This Must Be Belgium comes to mind. If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium (1969) - Plot Summary

"The best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry."

Planning goes awry because one is not aware of all things necessary. As had been said, 5 years is a long time. With children 5 years is an eternity. That this is about seeing the world adds absurdity to the notion of planning.

I say plan for departure and first long leg involving an ocean passage. Then plan from there as you are attempting to do now. Yes, I know, people don't plan to fail, they fail to plan...there is some trusty wisdom in that but it all goes out the window at first shot anyway. So just plan for an intermediate milestone...plan for distance not time.

Better is to plan the financial portfolio to fund the trip.
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