The voyage planning was one of the most exciting projects ahead of our departure. Critical to this endeavour was a book recommended by a fellow sailor. He was introduced to us in the marina soon after Sorin came back from Croatia. An Australian born sailor, he had packed up his acting job in Sydney about 10 years ago, and since then he has sailed the Seven Seas. The book – World Voyage Planner – is a must read for anyone who plans a similar endeavour. And guess what? It is written by one of the most prominent figures in today’s sailing world – Jimmy Cornell – a Romanian from Brasov, Sorin’s birth town.
When dreaming about this voyage, we wanted to beat the record for the longest circumnavigation. Surely the idea of escaping the ‘real world’ for as long as possible was tempting. Yet, when planning our voyage and its duration we had to take into account our savings. We settled on a duration of between 3 to 4 years from 2018 to 2021/2022. In spring 2021, we would either cross the Atlantic from Cape of Good Hope back to the Caribbean (via Brazil) or sail up to Europe via St Helena, Cape Verde and the Canaries. The deciding factor is going to be the financial situation at the time. Hard to assess right now as there are too many unknowns!
Figuring out where we should be and when, to stay in the safe season, was like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. Fun and exciting! Understanding the weather cycles, the winds and currents specific to each area was very enlightening…
And we came up with the content of ‘Our Voyage’ page of the website!
One thing that Sorin wanted to get across to me (a determined and stubborn creature!) was that we should allow some flexibility in our planning. After all, enjoyment whilst staying safe is our main priority. I agreed with him. We will make sure to always have a plan B.
At the time of publishing this blog we will have left Limehouse Marina (where we had been living aboard for more than 3 years) for 1 day.
We are sailing north on the East Coast of England to Ipswich (where Mehalah was built many years ago!) to do the antifouling. Weather permitting, 1st of June 2018 will be ‘the D day’. On 1st of June Eastern Europeans celebrate the Childrens’ Day; and after all, this voyage is the result of the two of us allowing ourselves to dream… an ability that adults sadly (but understandably!) tend to lose…
We will sail down the East Coast of Englnd, and then along the South Coast to Falmouth. From Falmouth we will be setting off across the Bay of Biscay to Northern Spain. We would like to spend some time around the Cies Islands, before setting off to Gibraltar, the Canaries and finally Cape Verde. Late November we will cross ‘the pond’ to Lesser Antilles. We will then cruise to Martinique, Guadeloupe and St. Martin before sailing to the ABC Islands on the way to Panama for a crossing in February 2019.
From the readings done it seems that the vast South Pacific has most to offer. And so, we are both very much looking forward to crossing the Panama Canal and follow the ‘Coconut Milk Run’ to Fiji via Galapagos, Marquises and Tahiti. From Fiji, around October 2019, we will be heading South (to avoid the cyclone season) to New Zealand and then, Australia.
After spending a few weeks around the North Coast of New Zealand we will sail north east to arrive in Sydney in time for the decade renewal! The fireworks viewed from the Sidney harbour is a vista not to be missed!
We will be resuming our round the world trip in spring 2020.
After a couple of months in the new decade we will be sailing north to Brisbane. And from there to New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea to cross the Torres Strait in August 2021. After a stop in Darwin we will be heading north east to Bali. From Bali we will cross the Indian Ocean via Cocos Islands, Mauritius, and Reunion to reach Durban in November 2021. From there we will be looking to head to Cape Town. Good planning, with an eye on the weather forecast is most critical when going across the Cape of Good Hope. The Agulhas Current running south parallel to the West side of the African continent hit by southerly gales can create significant size waves.
Once in Cape Town, we will decide whether we will cross the Atlantic via St Helena or if from St Helena we will return to Europe via Cape Verde and the Canaries. Missing the opportunity to go back to the Caribbean (ideally through Brazil) and from there north to the Bahamas and crossing the Atlantic east via Bermuda and the Azores (to complete our round the world in Cies Arhipelago) would be a shame… But the decision will be made closer to the time.
Regardless of the route taken and the delights and challenges along the way, this is a journey of a lifetime and a dream come true!