I just got home from an excellent lecture by Jimmy Cornell at the Cruising Association in downtown London. He spent about two hours talking about his three circumnavigations and route choices, using over 200 slides from his voyages.
I also bought a copy of his new book, A Passion for the Sea
, which is more of a narrative and interpretive book about his 200,000 miles of sailing, compared to his factual World Cruising Routes and similar books.
In addition to his sailing, he's worked with around 15,000 sailors during his time organizing ARC and the round-world rallies. Thus, during the question and answer period, I was particularly interested in some of his comments and responses.
On the topic of boat size, he noted that he started with a 36 footer, and then moved to a 40 foot for his family (wife and child). His more recent boats have also been of 45 feet or less (he now sails an Ovni with a centerboard, including to Antarctica). His response was that he still feels that boats of 40 to 45 are optimum for someone who wants to sail with family, but not hired crew.
He argued that he felt a lot of problems occurred with round-world cruisers in the 50-60 plus foot boats who found out quickly that they needed extra crew to handle the boats, and that opened an entirely new door for problems with hired crew that weren't planned for in the interior design of the boats, etc. (This wasn't such a big problem in the 3 week ARC, but it was on the round-world rallies.) Even given the choice of a larger boat, he'd opt out, since he only wants a size of boat that he can handle, even if he could afford a larger boat. He also argued that the smaller boats were safer to handle, even if a 43 foot boat was slower than a 60 footer.
On the topic of generators, he opted to sail without, even in his new Ovni. He felt that generators in general added too much complexity and were generally unreliable. He also opted against a freezer. Instead, he had three other types of power generation: solar panels, wind generator, and a towed generator that could produce one amp per knot (example
, but may not be the one he used). In fact, the towed generator alone could generate enough to off set the drain of the electronics and auto pilot. His engine was also used for charging, but only about 25 percent of engine hours was for energy production.
One electric device he did opt for was a water maker, but only a low production, low power consumption unit (4 gallons per hour). He said he wished that he had bought a more reliable one, but not necessarily a larger one. In his cruising, he typically never got water and marinas, but made his own (typically when the engine was running).
Anyway, his new book looks excellent, with color pictures throughout. I'm really looking forward to reading it.