We're planning to sail around the world for a couple of years on board a monohull. There will be times when we would like to leave the boat and travel inland, and we thought it would make sense to charter out the boat during those times to help pay for our travels. After the two years, we anticipate selling the boat and rejoining the "rat race." How feasible does this plan sound, and what type of boat would you recommend we purchase? Also, what other considerations should we take into account about the chartering aspect of our plans?
Sue & Larry respond:
When planning a trip around the world, it’s important to time your departures from various ports to coincide with favorable winds and currents, as well as seasonal weather features like hurricanes and monsoons. Two years is generally considered the minimum amount of time needed to accomplish a circumnavigation while taking advantage of prevailing winds and currents. But even with a full, two-year itinerary, you wouldn't be able to spend too much time in a single location. And you have to remember that much of that time is apt to be spent repairing things that broke on the last leg of the journey, and preparing the boat for your next leg. We’re afraid that your plan to sail around the world in two years or less and take several months away from the boat to travel inland sounds a little overly ambitious.
As for chartering your boat in a foreign country, frankly we see several problems with that part of your plan. Assuming that you could find someone to rent your boat that fits your exact time schedule, you’d likely be breaking local laws, and would almost certainly have big problems with your insurance company. Last, but not least, there’s the issue of letting strangers sail off with all of your possessions and your home.
Now, if you’re still keen on pursuing your dream, there are a lot of boats that are capable of going around the world. Some design characteristics we look for in an offshore sailboat include: a cutter rig, a deep, well-protected cockpit, moderate to deep draft keel, an interior with lots of braces and handholds, a strong engine, and good fuel capacity.
If you're looking for a good reference book for planning a world cruise, check out Jimmy Cornell’s World Cruising Routes. We keep a copy on board at all times, one that we bought at SailNet's on line Store. Here's wishing you happy adventures.