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Old 18-01-2006, 02:46   #1
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Greetings + my project

Hi everyone,
I've been reading the forums for sometime and thought it would only be rude not to introduce myself.

I'm Marco, 27, half Italian and half Slovak, currently living in the UK.

Ten years ago i said i would sail around the world. I still remember the day and circumstances... i was a guest on a friends boat circumnavigating sardinia in the med... since then, more or less i have taken every step in my life according to this idea.

I'm italian, grew up in italy but figured i would graduate earlier and get a better paid job in the uk. and that's what i did, chose economics and finance in the uk, graduated, got a job within a month in milano, worked there for 3 years in consulting (riding the degree abroad factor) till i hit a bit of a dead end... luck and circumstances took me back to the uk in 2004. switched to a banking job in the city where the pay is decent for a dreamer.

I manage my dream/project cold bloodedly: budget required to set off, budget for boat, for fitting out, for yearly living for first few years etc... When i moved to the uk I had already sailed since i was a kid but had never owned a boat so i thought i needed to know about the responsibilities of being an owner and not just a dreamer...

In 2004 i bought a battered 1978 J24 with osmosis for a few thousand pounds, sailed it in the solent, raced a bit, had fun then sold it last july. I had accumulated enough cash for part two of the project.

I bought a tiny tiny flat in central london and rented it out... appreciation and rental income will go towards financing the project - at the moment it's not much income given the mortgage but rents are due to go up and in the uk you can quite easily cash in capital gain by remortgaging periodically. As for me, i still live in shared rented accomodation to save money.

In November i finally bought the boat for the trip, a sigma 36, fin keel spade rudder 1983 cruiser racer by marine projects. I dont want to discuss whether she is the ideal boat or not (not even a skeg?!). I will quote the eternal sentence, every boat is a compromise and she is my compromise. She is very strongly built and has a good reputation for offshore races, even challenging races as the fastnet (see also the sigma 33 and sigma 38, they take part every time) and i will learn to accept her draw backs. I considered many other boats but this is what the budget managed. The boat was purchased with a 2/3 loan that i will repay in 5 years. I should be able to repay it earlier but more or less that brings me to my target departure date, 5 years from now...

I will try to make it by 21 april 2010. my 32nd birthday, planning a 3 to 4 years trip. Apart from the fitting out part (e.g. just ordered the windvane) i still have to find out who will join me (friend, girlfriend?), and what will happen with my life afterwards. but i'm sure i'll anwer these questions in the next few years or during the trip.

This project keeps me going, by now I cant even think of not doing it as an alternative. I always joke with friends and say that only a woman could stop me from going so, for the time being, i'll try to steer well clear of bricks and kids. A partner to this project would be great but not essential and I'm sure that if i wont look it'll just happen.

So, 5 years to go, actually just over 4. Someone in some post mentioned One Flew Over the Cookoos Nest, I'll mention Shawshank Redemtion, but it's meant to feel something like that.

I'm also getting some formal qualifications, they could come in handy to find jobs during the trip, doing deliveries and things like that. I'm completing the RYA Yachtmaster Offshore and will upgrade it to Yachtmaster Ocean next year and go for the commercial endorsment (involves a medical qualification). Might try to pick up other skills, perhaps diesel engine maintenance, welding, fiberglass work, rigging... i have to see what evening courses i can find.

Sailing around the UK is a lot of fun and quite testing, i hope it'll prepare me well for the big trip. The week before i did the delivery of the boat I had just bought, from the east cost to the south coast, it was blowing a force 9 gusting 10, no joke. Some areas had a forecast for force 11, it just looked surreal on the met office map. Luckily we only had a 5 to 6 on our 200 mile trip and it was a beautiful first sail although it was a cold mid-december job.

I'm debating with my mad friend Rob (the most likely candidate/victim of this project) whether to do Panama or go the Slocum way... your thoughts welcome on this subject.

I'll keep you posted on my progress. I'm planninng to do Biscay twice this summer, going from the Isle of Wight to Portugal and back to shake the boat a little and find out its weaknesess. The other trip could be a sail to the Fastnet rock in Ireland.

Ciao. Marco

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Old 18-01-2006, 04:12   #2
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Marco, good luck on your project and congrats on your new boat - a good choice, I think, altho' not a common one.

You asked about routing advice, specifically as you consider your W-bound route from the Canaries or Cape Verdes. If your goal is as you state - to see the world and do a Circle - I don't see the advantage of missing all of the Caribbean (which is quite diverse and much of it also easy cruising and not expensive) plus missing the near-shore Panamanian islands (both sides of the canal) and the Galapagos Is. Transiting the Canal will cost some money but that would seem to be the only downside; running around Cape Horn will be exciting of course but it will probably place some equipment and clothing requirements on you (at some expense) that otherwise you will have no need for. Moreover, you will still be pretty early in your Circle when leaving Europe and still climbing your learning curve; I would think crossing the Caribbean Sea would be a better 'fit' for your onboard skills and experiene at that point vs. heading for the tough waters at the bottom of S America.

Good luck to you.


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Old 18-01-2006, 05:10   #3
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What Jack said ...
Sounds like you've got your head screwed on right (good plan).
Keep us informed.
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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Old 18-01-2006, 19:06   #4
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Great story is good to see someone setting their mind on something and then geting on and doing it.

I have a similar dream to you, although I am probably not as organised as you. I just recently (December '05) purchased the boat - a 1985 Vandestadt 40', which probably wouldn't be most people's choice, but I like it. I have a little bit of equity in my house, so I plan on selling the house and investing the money to make up something of a portfolio that might provide some passive income when I finally cast off.

My delivery trip was about 2200km and was a pretty good test out for the boat (and for me). Now I am just enjoying cruising the local waters on the weekends, and even racing a couple of the local midweek twilight races. I think I will ned to do plenty of work on the boat, but that is ok - it will probably be between 5 and 7 years before I am financially in a position to be able to afford to take off for an extended (i.e. years) voyage.

Good luck with your project. Keep us all posted as to how it progresses.
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Old 18-01-2006, 19:12   #5
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Marco, great plan. Sounds like you are well focused.
As for the Straits, I have researched this route extensively, as well as Cape Horn itself. One of my life ambitions, but out of compromise, it will probably never happen. Consider the additional expense. As an alternative to the canal, you will be spending 1-2 years additional in provisions, as wel as time. No cost benefit. For that trip, your boat is not ideally suited, and among other things, a short handed crew in the straits is a big risk. Access to provisions is very limited there, and cruising permits are hard to obtain. That being said, if you choose to do it, I am behind you all the way. In 2002 the Pardeys doubled the Horn, and they have a DVD out now that chronicles that trip. It is very informative. Their insite on the decision to make that trip is very specific, and too the point. Happy cruising, and I look forward to your posts.
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Old 26-02-2009, 10:14   #6
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An updated...

Well, i wrote my original post about 4 years ago, and how many things have changed. The plan was to set off sailing around the world in 2010, the boat was chosen for that. Meanwhile i got involved in racing, silly me, and single-handed too!
Now i'm entered in the OSTAR, the original single handed transatlantic race from Plymouth UK to Newport RI in the US, sailing the wrong way to america. I'm really excited and cant wait for the start which is less than three months away now, on may the 25th 2009.
I think I enjoy racing more than i would do simply cruising hence the shift of plans, the boat is the same, so I probably wont win anything but the adventure will amazing. Perhaps after this race i'll be in a better position to make some longer term committments to sailing, and decide whether to race or cruise... so, if anything i'm slightly ahead of my plan posted 4 years ago as i'll get to do an atlantic crossing, although the picture after that is a little blurred, with dreams of big races conflicting with palms and sandy beaches.

If you want to follow my preparations and my race you can do so on my website


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Old 26-02-2009, 10:35   #7
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Stupid should hurt.
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Old 26-02-2009, 11:22   #8
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Originally Posted by Marco View Post
Well, I wrote my original post about 4 years ago, and how many things have changed. The plan was to set off sailing around the world in 2010, the boat was chosen for that. Meanwhile i got involved in racing, silly me, and single-handed too! .........................................

Whooa! Worried me there for a moment. The first thing that went threw my mind was you met a woman and there goes all the plans!

But all's well on the home front. I'm glan to see your still on course.
Faithful are the Wounds of a Friend, but the Kisses of the Enemy are Deceitful!
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Old 27-02-2009, 16:28   #9
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Good to have you here. Keep us posted on the progress.

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