It seems that in the 21st century technology has come to the point where nothing is worth taking and recovering from the journey around the world itself. Set the course, set the autopilot - and go. But this is all fantastic, of course. There are many subtle things to consider when going around the world. Boat International was told about these subtleties by experienced world-renowned Zeelander Yachts owner Sietse Koopmans, who purchased a 37-meter expedition yacht Zeepaard and circled the globe from 2009 to 2012; now retired legendary shipowner Tom Perkins, who has sailed everywhere on his Andromeda and Maltese Falcon sailing yachts, and Michael and Judy Ryan, developers and owners of Tenaz and Twizzle sailing superyachts.
Pick the right yacht.
The first thing to think about is choosing the right superyacht. According to Coopmans, the wrong choice guarantees that you will have to pay twice.
«I know from experience that yachts are designed by people who do not go out on the open sea. My Zeepaard expedition boat is almost ideal for round the world. But I do not believe in sailing boats - they are good for racing and small trips, but for long distances are not suitable. For the same price you can buy three times as big a motor».
Gather a qualified crew...
You have to choose your team responsibly: «Gradually, you get used to the team and understand what it can do. As a rule, I didn't have any complaints about the crew, except for one case when Coke illegally transferred funds to her account and then disappeared»," said Coopmans.
Walk downstream and downwind.
«Go with the current and wind so you'll be accompanied by good weather»," says Coopmans, whose round-the-world adventure began in Malta in 2009. Zeepaard visited the Mediterranean Sea and then headed west towards the Atlantic Ocean. In his opinion, this is the best route.
Bend the «ball» counterclockwise.
Twizzle owners have made the world round twice, from east to west and from west to east. In their opinion, it was better to sail westwards.
«The most practical, given the weather and seasonal winds, is to swim counterclockwise. Take the following route: the Panama Canal, then through the Galapagos and Pacific Ocean, to Southeast Asia through the Indian Ocean and the Suez Canal. It's much harder»to swim in a clockwise direction.
During his three-year voyage Coopmans and his entire team detained the authorities of Alexandria for three days. «That was the end of our stay in Egypt. I promised I wouldn't come back»here again. Perkins remembers his stay in Egypt with dislike too: I only «passed the Suez Canal once, but I won't even try again.
Bend around Cape Horn in December...
According to Perkins, Chilean Cape Horn should be rounded only in December. However, it remains unpredictable at any time of year.
«The wind speed was 20 knots and we rounded the cape, crossed the Drake Strait and headed towards Antarctica. Next year at the same time, my friend fought a 120-knot wind there that kept him from repeating our route»," Perkins recalls.
Don't forget British Columbia.
«Everyone's talking about Alaska, but nobody remembers British Columbia. It's a mistake: this remote place boasts incredible fauna, whales, amazing animals, and perhaps the most beautiful views in the world», - complain the owners of Twizzle. - Outside of the whales there are thirty-minute performances, while 12 humpback whales hunt herring. Just awesome! The glaciers are spectacular too».
Beware of pirates.
Crossing the Indian Ocean, Zeepaard was imminently in pirate territory. Luckily, Cupmans was ready for it.
«We have significantly modified the boat by protecting it with live wire mesh and barbed wire. We put military number ZP01 on the bow, and on the deck we put firing fortifications; the engine room was converted into a citadel from where the boat»could be operated.
Just in case, the yacht was also accompanied by four Dutch Navy Special Forces soldiers.
Be prepared for the bureaucratic red tape
Paperwork, especially off the coast of Cuba, was an equally unpleasant moment for Coopmans. «Look out for Cuba. We were inspected by 11 bureaucrats, each filling out the same forms».
Beware of jellyfish.
Perkins told us about the unforeseen difficulties, too.
«We sailed across the Atlantic and decided to cool down. And then one of our crew was stung by a Portuguese ship. It went into anaphylactic shock, twice. He was saved only thanks to good medical equipment on board, but he still has scars on his back».
Be careful at night.
«Since the nights are not very dark at high southern latitudes, we have not stopped. As it turned out, that was a fatal mistake," Perkins warned. - The fact is, radar doesn't even display large tilting icebergs - the echoes go up, not towards the boat. Remember the «Titanic»: something like this almost happened to us, and we didn't walk at night anymore.
The maps are not always true.
Perkins also advises not to believe the maps too much: Alaska «navigation charts are inaccurate. Our Andromeda ran aground, and the nine-meter tide left her stuck on the clay bottom. We tied the crewing anchor to the top of the mast and threw it far overboard to prevent the boat from turning over. We did it, and we landed until - eight hours later - the water»returned.
Take the kids with you.
The decision to take the children and leave them without school was not easy for the Ryan family, but in the end they did not regret it.
«We invited tutors, a married couple who were advised by the agency, and got even more than we expected. Together, the children and their teachers were an independent unit and they didn't have to be with us or the team»all the time," the Ryans said. But Ryan's best lesson was that they taught their daughters on their own when they decided to promote a female archipelago captain.«She was an excellent role model for our three daughters as our first female captain - previously, women had never commanded a superyacht.
Don't expect a warm welcome from all of you.
Sometimes the brightest impressions at the same time and the scariest ones. This happened to the owners of Twizzle, who found themselves in the port of Papua New Guinea. «Papua New Guinea can be scary. We were kicked out of here, even an experienced guide didn't help. But we were warned in advance, and in the end we can say for sure that it was worth it - here we saw unimaginable things and met probably the most colorful people in the world».
Cherish the memory of your adventures...
«The humpback whales off the coast of Niue, the double catch of the big curiosities on a $12 fishing rod, the rays jumping out of the water are just some examples of our unforgettable adventures»," says Coupmans.