Sailing around the world?

2012 May 3
by Mike

In a few short minutes we will be raising sail to depart St. Lucia, if not for good then potentially for a significant amount of time. Our plan, if that is what you can call our loose discussions about ports we would like to visit, has us heading west this season as opposed to back up through the Windward and Leeward islands. This brings up a question that I have been pondering: at what point can someone actually say that they are “sailing around the world?” The question exists because I have personally met several people who profess to be traveling on such a route, and read about countless others on the internet, and in spite of their assertions, many of these people never actually go much of anywhere! There are others though that are obviously on a definite quest to circumnavigate, and they aim to do so at a rapid pace. I wonder where we fit in. Something to think about as we sail to St. Vincent today. :)

Our “last” sunset of St. Lucia.

44 Responses leave one →
  1. Igor permalink
    May 3, 2012

    The answer is really quite simple. It all depends on your definition of “around”. If you’re driving “around” town, are you going in a circle around it, are you going from point A to point B, or are you simply enjoying the sights and sounds are are driving through the different neighborhoods?

    Apply that same “logic” to sailing around the world. Are you trying to go around the world, ie circumnavigate, or are you just bouncing around from port to port with no intention of hopping on the “beltway”?

    In addition, one could say that you could bounce around from port to port and end up going going around the world, while another can say that even one set of islands is essential part of the world, so by sailing between them, you’re essentially “sailing around the world”.

    And now, I am starting to confuse myself, so I’m going to go. Did I say this was a simple answer?

    • Theresa Williams permalink
      May 3, 2012

      I like to say we are enjoying the world one stop at a time. Enjoying the sights, sounds, tastes, people and culture of each place. If you make the rapid trip around the world, you miss those things, it’s just a rapid trip around the world. I think the way you approach it is just fine. Enjoy the trip and we hope to see you on the big blue watery road, Crew of Lucky Jack.

      • May 5, 2012

        Thanks for the comment, Theresa. We’ll keep our eyes open for Lucky Jack!

    • May 5, 2012

      You’re so wise, Igor. :)

  2. May 3, 2012

    Hello you two,

    This year more than in years past I am enjoying your blog. Rusty and I had left SYL in Brunswick, Georgia with the intention of “starting” in the Northern Bahamas and then go to the Exumas. However, our youngest daughter, changed our plans by getting engaged. She will be getting married in August in Destin, Florida. We brought SYL back to Kemah, (in this case Baytown) Texas to plan and pay for a wedding. Rusty started working a couple of weeks ago and I am between Baytown, Beaumont and our lake house.
    I just wanted to say hi and let you know I will be living vicariously through you this season.
    Sea Yawl Later!!

    • May 5, 2012

      Hey Linda. Nice to hear from you. Glad all is well with you and the family. Thanks for posting and for following along. Hopefully we run into you again someplace tropical!

  3. Ken Page permalink
    May 3, 2012

    I predict, you’ll go west and north and south a little with maybe even some easting here and there. After a while or a year or so you’ll decide if you want the hassle (Colon) and major excitement of passing through the shortcut to the Pacific. If you do that, west, north or south will be your future. Or you’ll aimlessly and tirelessly sail round and round the Caribbean which in itself could take a few years or more. It’s all good from my view.

  4. May 3, 2012

    It always cracks me up when I come across someone else’s blob and they are in the exact same spot you two are.. Have fun StV!

    • May 5, 2012

      Let us know when you find someone and we’ll make a point of introducing ourselves to them.

  5. May 3, 2012

    I agree with Igor, all depends on “around” and your goals. Are you doing it to experience life, meet people, see places, explore the land/water interface or are you doing it to call yourself a “circumnavigator”, break a record, win a race?

    • May 5, 2012

      It’s funny because in most other things we are quite goal oriented. In this, not so much.

  6. May 3, 2012

    For me, my immediate goal is to cruise around the caribbean…..The eastern, southern and western……I think sailing around the world is just that, sailing around the world. I do speak with people who have sailed/cruised around the word in a year. I think for most cruisers, sailing around the world can take years…..You need to start somewhere and for us east coast people, the caribbean is the first leg of that journey. I think you and Rebecca are sailing around the world and you are only in the first stage or first leg of that journey….I still hope to catch up to you guys one day in the caribbean, so take your time!!!

    • May 5, 2012

      We ran into a guy (John) in Puerto Rico who took 9.5 years to circumnavigate, largely single-handling a 34′ mono. He had some stories!

  7. Matt Marsh permalink
    May 3, 2012

    “Circumnavigation” has a clear, unambiguous definition: you have to cross all meridians of longitude, and cross the equator twice.

    “Around the world” is, I think, what people say when they’re cruising to a different random place every month, but with no real long-term pattern or timetable.

    Does the difference really matter? I think not. If you’re on a yacht, in the tropics, you fix the boat in the morning, hike the island in the afternoon, and skinny-dip in crystal clear lagoons in the evening, you’re pretty darn close to paradise- what you choose to call your trip is just irrelevant semantics :)

  8. May 3, 2012

    Hello Mike and Rebecca, When you say West, do you mean ,going to the western Caribbean, as in Belize, Honduras, Guatemala (Rio Dulce) ,Panama, ?

  9. Tytti permalink
    May 3, 2012

    I have thought “around” = circumnavigation, but well You can “hang around” too ;) .

    You can do that pretty quick if You like to – 45 days is fastest:

    I’ve read a few wish they had more time+money to be able to stay longer at places they loved.

    Sometimes the weather windows don’t allow staying, but make You hurry on. One couple left their boat hauled on an atoll in the French Polynesia and flew home to come back later.

    Here it is still cold 41-50 F and the spring is late, though first swallows have appeared (all the way from Egypt!). First boats are already in the water. Ours is still waiting for new paint.

    • May 5, 2012

      Weather is definitely a factor which affects the pace of a circumnavigation to a degree!

  10. Tytti permalink
    May 3, 2012

    Forgot to say I appreciate that You sailed back up north the islands You had already passed on Your way to safe for hurricane season.

    I love the navigational maps You give us and boat mending reports. Seems that You have had quite a carefree boat. Many have all kinds of hassle with filters, valves and stuff.

    Have a nice hop !

  11. Joe permalink
    May 3, 2012

    We’ve pondered the same question. When we initially started talking about our desire to “sail around the world,” the word circumnavigation was often used. As our plan has evolved and the goals we set for our journey have solidified we now define what it is we want to do as exploration. I also have read quite a few blogs where families set off to sail around the world only to end up moored in the BVIs or endlessly wondering the coasts of Mexico. We have decided not to set any lofty goals or cumbersome time-lines on our journey. We quite simply are going to explore. The sailing routes that suit one sailor or family may differ greatly from those of others. We are all diverse creatures and all that we can wish for anyone is that they find peace and happiness in whatever course they sail.

    • May 5, 2012

      In all the discussions we had, we never really considered circumnavigating as one of our goals.

  12. May 3, 2012

    I love Igor’s answer!

  13. May 3, 2012

    What do you want to do?

    Does it matter what you guys call yourselfs? Do you really need to fit in some sort of category?

  14. Ben permalink
    May 3, 2012

    Any chance that you could go to Cuba? I want to visit before it opens up too much to tourism.

    • May 5, 2012

      Cuba is on the short list although it might still take us a while to get there.

  15. Cookie Johnson permalink
    May 3, 2012

    I would say you are “Cruising throughout the world”!

  16. dinglesquirts permalink
    May 3, 2012

    Mike and Rebecca you guys are awesome. I have been following you for a bit and am following in your path and find your blog/FB invaluable. I am following SO many peoples adventures and by far you guys ROCK!!! If plans to circumnavigate is your desire I am sure you two will do it. That is whats great about you guys, just be there and DO IT!!!

  17. Ricardo permalink
    May 3, 2012

    Mike and Rebecca,
    I know a family (3 kids) that circomnavigated in 10 years.
    Target? Focus? Objective?
    It just happened.
    So I learned reading their book that there is a such thing called “sailing around life”, with means seeing, learning, experience, etc life around this planet , with all its diversity, etc.
    Eventually, that can or can not lead to a technical circumnavigation.

    If I understood your spirits reading this blog . .. .


    • May 5, 2012

      I bet they had an awesome 10 years. Do you remember the name of the book? Was it Northern Magic?

  18. May 3, 2012

    In no hurry, flexible, and open to new adventures … I’d say that’s where ya’ll fit in and where we will too someday. I’d call this the “smart” category, living on “Island Time”!

  19. May 3, 2012

    You have jammed so much into the last couple of years that you have experienced more than most of us will see in a lifetime. The physical challenges of going further abroad would perhaps not be the scary part. The scary part IMO is the increasing insecurity in parts of the world. Is the experience offset by the risk?

    I say that there is still a whole bunch of “world” in the Caribbean to see, be part of and to make your own. I 2nd the visit to Cuba…those folks are fabulous. Get there before it is opened up and spoiled.

    • May 5, 2012

      Yes, there is much to enjoy in the Caribbean, that is true!

  20. Bill Morgan permalink
    May 3, 2012

    How about the Northwest passage, I hear Ellesmere Island is lovely this time of year.
    You two are rugged enough to take that on.
    Not many people can say that I’m sure.

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