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Old 07-29-2001
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Mark Matthews is on a distinguished road
Sailing Around the World

I am currious about the world's cruising routes and their currents and winds. I am planning my first voyage. In August I will be going to the Galapagos and then on to Europe. It will be myself and two others. Can you tell me the best route to take?

Mark Matthews responds:
Thanks for the question. If you’re planning on sailing to the Galapagos and then on to Europe and plan to leave in August but just now asking about the world’s cruising routes, unless you are paying crew aboard the Queen Elizabeth II, I’d strongly recommend you postpone the voyage until your endeavor has a bit more focus. Entire libraries are devoted to the sea, its winds, and the prevailing currents, so any explanation of a global route will not really be well served in the brief treatment I'll give it here.

Many people spend years preparing themselves and their boats to sail off into the sunset. There’s a lot to learn. Even experienced cruisers in one region of the world can find themselves in trouble in another region should they overlook prevailing wind and weather patterns, currents, tides, bottom characteristics, and more. Any ocean passage should begin with a long series of coastal hops so as to shake your boat down and troubleshoot any potential problems. Life thousands of miles away from your nearest chanderly, sailmaker, hardware store, grocery store, mechanic, and hospital can be a very different life indeed with lots of unexpected twists and turns. It's always best to be overly prepared.

There are certain times of the year that cruisers head off for specific regions of the world, and there are good reasons why these routes are the ones chosen. The consequences of not following these larger patterns can be catastrophic.

For additional information on cruising, I’d strongly recommend subscribing to one or more of our E-mail discussion lists where you can query real-life sailors on any number of topics including global sailing routes, weather, and anything else nautical that comes to mind. You can also find a wealth of information on our website. From the homepage, check out the Main Areas. Click on Seamanship, Cruising, or other areas to get access to all of our archived material. Despite the wealth of information we offer, reading is no substitute for time spent on the water with miles clicking by under your keel. Good luck.

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