Have you ever dreamed about sailing around the world on your own sailboat? If so, then you will be glad to know that you are not delusional, and you are not alone! There have been many who have heard the call of the sea, people of all ages from all over the world have been have been fascinated with the idea. Here are the stories of some of those who made this dream a reality.
Laura Dekker, the youngest person to solo circumnavigate the globe
Laura was born on a sailboat docked in New Zealand when her parents were sailing around the world. She spent the first years of her life on their boat sailing from country to country, from port to port, and that is exactly what the girl wanted to do again by the time she celebrated her eighth birthday.
On August 21, 2010, with only 14 years of age, Laura set sail from Gibraltar starting her journey across the world. However for this young sailor trouble started even before setting foot on to Guppy (the 11.5 meter Jeanneau Gin Fizz ketch that would safely take her around the world).
When 13 year old Laura Dekker announced her intentions to circumnavigate the globe a court in Utrecht, Holland didn´t take long to try to block her efforts even going as far as temporarily removing Laura`s custody from her father, with whom Laura was living after the divorce of her parents, arguing that Laura was too young and lacked the necessary sailing skills in order to survive the voyage in addition to her obligation to attend school. A long judicial process was started, through which Laura had to prove that she had the adequate sailing skills and knowledge, to get a bigger boat and to promise to keep a constant contact with her school. This Dutch girl overcame all of these obstacles and was finally able to start initiate her epic voyage.
After setting sail from Gibraltar she visited the Canary Islands where she spent several weeks exploring the islands while waiting for the hurricane season to pass. She then headed down to Cape Verde, after which she crossed the Atlantic reaching the island of St. Martin. She then continued through the Panama canal across the Pacific Ocean, making stops at the Galapagos, Tonga, Fiji, Bora Bora and Australia. After stopping in Australia for some repairs, she continued on to South Africa and later on to complete her journey arriving back at St. Martin. It took her 518 days to complete her journey.
After this life changing adventure, Laura returned to her natal New Zealand, where she now works in the nautical industry and studies to obtain her yacht captain license and gives talks about her experience.
Enrique Fenollosa, a Spanish telecommunications engineer fulfilling his dream
This engineer from Valencia started his adventure when he was 39 years old. Always passionate about the sea Enrique quit his job in order to complete his lifelong dream while he was at his peak physical condition. Through acquiring sponsors and by using his savings he was able to achieve his dream.
It took him four years and one month to complete his adventure. During this time he visited 47 countries and hundreds of anchorages. He didn’t take any shortcuts either, as he crossed the notorious Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope. Right after crossing Cape Horn, Enrique’s sailboat got engulfed by a storm. When it emerged from the storm, it did so with its mast broken. This set back Enrique´s timetable by 10 months which he and his friends had to spend in Chile waiting for a new mast to be delivered and installed. Enrique recalled that he encountered more problems from bureaucracy than he did from the seas.
The married couple that set off on a week-long sailing trip…returning 16 years later
In 1998 Clive and Jane Green set sail on a planned short voyage to try out their 35ft sailboat, the Jane Green, before sailing any further. However what started as a short trip, turn into a 16 year around the world adventure! Only recently returning back to their home marina in Pembrokeshire, West Wales in August 2014.
Throughout their epic adventure the couple visited Spain, Cape Verde, the Barbados, island hopping in the Caribbean, sailing along the eastern coast of the US visiting New York, and then Canada, before turning back South and heading to the Panama canal. They then crossed the Pacific, on to Australia, South East Asia, over to India and then through the Suez channel into the Mediterranean, where they visited Greece, Malta, Italy and Spain. Later to turn back North and heading through Portugal and the Azores back towards Wales. The reason it took them so long to complete their journey, is the desire to explore in depth each place they visited, which in case of Australia translated in them staying in the land down under for over a year.
Sixteen years ago they purchased their sailboat for £16,500 after retiring from their jobs as a utility company engineer and a hospital microbiology technician. Having no children they rented out their home in South Wales and managed to survive the last 16 years on around £130 a week. The couple said that they did not have a single argument on board what was their home for the last 16 years. After arriving back in Wales, they said that they were very grateful for how lucky they were to see our planet in such an amazing way.
Jeanne Socrates, the 70 year old widow in a solo sailing around the world
After almost 260 days at sea, Jeanne Socrates arrived to back to where she started her voyage, in Victoria, Canada. Jeanne´s courage arouse from her deep loss.
Jeanne and her husband retired relatively early, in their fifties, and they started their life of freedom and adventure together. Jeanne has barely been on a boat before they started sailing in their fifties.
For five years they sailed the seas together, visiting Scandinavia, the British Isles and the Iberian Peninsula. They crossed the Caribbean and ascended up the East coast of the US all the way to Cape Breton in Nova Scotia, Canada. In 2001 they started heading South, visiting Miami, Grenada, the Bahamas, Cuba, Haiti, Dominica, Puerto Rico, the British Virgin Islands… In September of the same year, George was diagnosed with cancer and after years of fighting it, he passed away in 2003.
At 60 years of age, Jeanne was alone, without her inseparable George, who was the navigator and captain of their boat, but above all else, her life partner. She decided to continue alone, to get to know all the systems of the boat and to solve all the problems that would arise as they did so. With the help of friends and their moral support, Jeanne studied and obtained her RYA Ocean Yacht Master title.
Once she crossed the Panama Canal and sailed into the Pacific for the first time, Jeanne decided to honour her late husband by circumnavigating the world by herself. After several failed attempts, at 70 years old, Jeanne Socrates became the oldest sailor to successfully solo circumnavigate the globe. Jeanne will be remembered not for her age, but for the exemplary life she had.
These stories are definitely inspiring, the adventure, the perils and the experience that these people have been through is just incredible. Although there are many people out there who share the dream of sailing around the world and discovering our beautiful planet, it is a hard dream to accomplish. A lot of people hear the calling of the sea without having ever experienced what it is to sail the waves. For those people the first step towards their dream would be to rent a boat on their holidays in order to experience the pleasures of sailing. Here at aBoatTime we provide you with just that! Visit us and browse through our large variety of destinations and boat models, select a place and dates that you like best and contact us in order to make your sailing dreams a reality!