Everything happens in space and time. You’ve seen the course, now let’s do some planning for our circumnavigation. This project can be split in the following key sequences, which will overlap somewhat:
- Finding a sailboat, and possibly finding additional funds;
- Preparing and sailing the boat;
- Doing the shakedown cruise(s);
- Circumnavigating Earth;
- Closing the project and re-selling the boat.
Finding our boat
This is the wild card. We’ve been looking for almost a year already. During this year we’ve identified and allocated the funds discussed here. We know these are not sufficient, and we may try to raise funds. It’s a bit of a cath 22. If we get more funds we can get a better boat. If we buy the boat now and find the funds later then what?
At this time there is no end in sight for this process. Let’s say it will take another 6-12 months.
This is going to be the longest part of the project. Once we find a boat this program will become more specific. As any boat owner knows boat projects take time and money, a lot of both. And they are fairly stressful too, as you never know what you will find once you start a project.
Getting to know the boat well will require sailing the boat in plenty of different conditions. Such a sailing training program is really hard to fit
This period will last about 18-24 months.
The shakedown cruise is an offshore event to prove that the boat and skipper are ready to go. The duration and weather conditions will need to at least partially mimic the actual event. It may be done in multiple steps. This period would last about 6-9 months. Here are a few examples of progressive shakedown cruises:
- A quick jaunt to the San Francisco Farallon Islands;
- An outing when a gale is blowing off the San Francisco;
- Sail down to Monterey and back without stopping;
- Sail upwind North for 3 days and come back;
- Navigate 400 nm West and come back.
There are two key variables: departure date and average boat speed. We presented the course to a meteorologist to identify the best departure time. The key problems are avoiding hurricane seasons and pass Cape Horn at the best possible time. Of course, boat speed plays a major role in this planning. Let’s conservative and assume 5.5 knots. Putting A and B together has us leaving from San Francisco in mid-September. This does not completely avoid all hurricane sessions but it does put us at Cape Horn mid-February. We’re still at risk in the Pacific and the Indian oceans.
This period would take about 6 months.
We expect that closing the project will take about 6 months. This time will be dedicated to catching up with life ashore, recovering, reinserting oneself into normal life (incl. work) and selling the boat.
Adding it all up
Let’s put it all together:
- 6-12 months to find a boat;
- 18-24 months to prepare the boat;
- 6-9 months for shakedown cruises;
- 6 months to circumnavigate;
- 6 months to go back to normal life.
That’s about 3.5-5 years in total, with a potential start date of September 2021 or 2022.