Circumnavigation Records and a Compact Ice Maker
Circumnavigating the globe is no small undertaking. For hundreds of years, many have tried. No shortage of things can go wrong including navigation, equipment, supplies or exhaustion. These voyages, whether they be record speed attempts or casual, take a minimum of 4 months and can be affected by several factors like: route, boat type, mechanical or wind propulsion.
Solo or Crewed
Circumnavigators can attempt to travel solo or with a crew. Either method is no small feat and requires determination, skill and wits. Below we will cover three notable solitary successes.
At age 77, Minoru is the oldest person to make a solo, non-stop circumnavigation of the globe. He didn't stop at one, he did so eight times. His final attempt was "backwards" traveling west-to-east. This is difficult because the trade winds on which much of nautical travel relies blow east-to-west making travel in that direction much more efficient.
He successfully finished his eighth journey which took him 3 years to complete. There were a number of detours due to ship problems that and he was forced to halt his journey due to winter. The yacht he used broke down several times with a disabled rudder and engine problems multiple times.
Breaking the record for worlds fastest solo circumnavigation was Ellen MacArthur. Running on only 20 minutes of sleep at a time, she was able to break the former speed record with a time of 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes and 33 seconds. Although she was bested in 2007 by the former record holder, her accomplishment was still impressive.
MacArthur had a decade-long career in racing and long-distance boating. In the Mini Transat solo transatlantic race she finished 17th and shortly thereafter was named "Yachtsman of the Year". Since then she founded the Ellen MacArthur Foundation that aids businesses and educational institutions. The Foundation's goal is to help those establishments move toward what are called "circular economies" that create sustainable food and energy sources.
The youngest recognized non-stop and unassisted circumnavigator is Jesse Martin who was only 18 years, 66 days old when he completed his 328 day journey. He received heavy financial assistance through sponsorships on his clothing, vessel and press releases. After he successfully completed his event, the category of "youngest" completionist has been discontinued and is now no longer recognized by the World Sailing Speed Record Council.
His post-voyage activities include a book and documentary about his circumnavigation, creation of a media production company and a chartered sailing adventure business.
Have You Got What It Takes?
If you might be thinking about taking on an endeavor like this you need to harden your boating skills and use this checklist to give yourself the best chance for success.
- Dry food requiring very little preparation.
- Drinking untreated ocean water, especially salt water, is highly risky. Make sure you have on-board water treatment and filtration.
- Take along books, music and entertainment for extended periods of time spent on open water.
- Take some amenities like a compact ice maker for drinks.
- Create an iron-clad itinerary so that friends and collaborators know when and where to expect you.
- Know alternate routes in the event of extreme weather.
- If unexpected repairs need to be made, plot out additional ports along your route.
- Be sure to take reliable tracking and communication equipment with you.
- Have hardware and tools so that you can potentially make small repairs on-the-fly without having to stop or detour.
- Look into insurance policies. The financial investment is not insubstantial so be sure to protect your assets.