There have been a lot of people going off and attempting solo circumnavigations.
Recent ones still in progress include Zac Sunderland
, Mike Perham
, and Jessica Watson
, all contending for the youngest circumnavigation title.
Recent successes include Maude Fontenoy
and Donna Lange
Recent failures include Ronnie Simpson
, Heather Neill
, David Vann
and Ken Barnes
I'd point out that Maude completed her circumnavigation after a dismasting and managed to do so under jury rig. Donna Lange was a grandmother at the time of her circumnavigation. Contrast these two women with the three men and one woman I mention after them.
Ronnie Simpson couldn't be bothered to get a 47 year old boat surveyed, but timed his departure to make the local news and had HD camera equipment aboard to document his voyage. If he had an emergency tiller aboard his boat and known how to use it, what became a reason to abandon ship might have been just a royal PITA.
Heather Neill spent a lot of money prepping her boat s/v Flight of Years, a Flicka, and forgot to prep herself. A shakedown cruise or two would have gone a long way to revealing the problems with her preparation of her Flicka... and resulted in her having to hack a hole in the boat's cabintop to get back in after being locked out less than a day after leaving.
David Vann was an idiot and built a trimaran that was destined to fail due to a faulty design. The fact that one of his heroes is Ken Barnes is not a big surprise.
Ken Barnes was caught in a bad storm and wasn't too familiar with the gear on his boat. He didn't prep himself or the boat properly, but had every electronic device known to man aboard the boat. IIRC, he had 14 8D batteries or so aboard, but failed to secure them properly. When the boat got rolled, the batteries bounced around the cabin and did some major damage. Donna Lange was one of the boats that responded to Ken's MayDay calls.
If you want to go and sail around the world. Work your way up to it. Get the skills and the experience that will allow you to succeed.
Yes, modern equipment and technology has made it safer...but circumnavigating the globe still takes a lot of seamanship and a fair bit of luck. There have been those who started out short on the seamanship and heavy on the luck and made it in spite of themselves. Preparing yourself increases the chances you'll succeed though.
Whenever someone starts a conversation on Sailnet about a solo circumnavigation it seems like a lot of people dog pile on with lots of criticism, etc, and one of the things I remember from those threads is that there is always someone who is going to say that solo circumnavigation is now considered unremarkable and that the reason we don't hear about them is that nobody would bother to write about it. Yet we do seem to hear about solo circumnavigations when they happen, maybe not every attempt but I believe every success. I can't remember any this past year, the last one I remember was Donna Lange on "Inspired Insanity", and at about the same time there was a lot of conversation about Ken Barnes and his trials, but before that I don't remember any other recent attempts.
The Slocum society keeps this list
and there are other lists like it of people who have completed a solo circumnavigation, and I am with you, for as many people as there are on the earth and the increase in safety gear such as GPS, you'd think more would have done it, but they haven't. It seems to still be a very exclusive club, very few dare. I have the utmost respect for anyone who has sailed solo around the earth and the naysayers don't influence me one bit.
I think there are many more couples who circumnavigate.