How to Acquire a Boat to Sail Around the World

What kind of boat do you need to sail around the world yourself? The answers to this question are as varied as the people who have pulled off that feat. Ever since the first official circumnavigation was completed by the 18 surviving crew members of Ferdinand Magellan’s famous expedition, the debate has raged on among sailors as to what kind of boat is suitable for the journey. 

Up until the late twentieth century, circumnavigations by private individuals were rare. Most voyages around the world consisted of large crews aboard expensive vessels, or even fleets of ships, that were funded by a government or other large organization. There were a few lone sailors or sailing families that completed a sailing circumnavigation themselves, but they were a rare anomaly, and their voyages were usually highly publicized feats. 

All that changed in the 1960’s and 1970’s when the world cruising lifestyle became much more widespread. The lone voyagers and sailing record seekers were outnumbered greatly by individuals and families aboard relatively small vessels who sailed for fun rather than fame and made cruising around the world their way of life. 

These people would buy a mid sized cruising boat, sell their house, move the family aboard, and set their sights on far away islands. By the year 2000, the typical size of a liveaboard cruising vessel greatly increased in size (and budget) from the 60’s and 70’s. The anchorages that were once full of Westsail 32’s and Contessa 26’s were now packed with Fontaine Pajot catamarans and megayachts. 

Fortunately, there’s still quite a number of modest sailing yachts making their way around the world. Unless you are independently wealthy, most people who cruise around the world and work along the way will choose to sail a boat in the 25 to 45 foot range.

In this installment of our guide to sailing around the world, we will teach you everything that you need to know to select, buy and prepare a vessel for a round the world sailing voyage. 

Developing Your Budget – How Much Can You Afford?

For 95% of aspiring circumnavigators, the most important factor in the choice of their vessel will be the cost. Of course, it’s important to remember that the total cost of the vessel will go far beyond the purchase price. 

Before you set your sights on a particular boat, you will want to sit down with your crew and develop a budget. Make sure that you include costs for the initial purchase of the vessel, and also incorporate the refit, outfitting the vessel, moorage, transportation to your home port, and ongoing costs over the course of the voyage. There is a good chance that you will spend more money getting the boat ready for the voyage than the initial purchase price. 

A new boat will save you a lot of money with regards to upkeep, because it’s unlikely to need major repairs prior to your voyage. However, it may end up costing you quite a lot to fully outfit and equip a bare vessel straight out of the factory. 

Once you have a general idea of what amount you can afford to spend on the boat, make a list of boats that fit within your budget and also meet your other criteria for living aboard. I like to list the vessels in order of preference, beginning with my favorite type of boat. If you cannot find your favorite model within your price range, move down to your second or third choice until you have found a boat that fits the budget and the other criteria.

Keep in mind that a vessel that has already been extensively equipped for offshore sailing may save you tens of thousands of dollars in equipment and gear – as long as everything is still in good condition. 

Choosing the Right Boat

Choosing the right boat is the single most important decision that you will make with regards to your circumnavigation prior to your departure. There are a wide variety of vessels capable of completing a circumnavigation, but each sailor has their own preferences as to what constitutes the ideal vessel.

Since you will be living and working aboard for several years, you need to be absolutely sure to pick the right one. You don’t want to change your mind about the vessel after the first long passage and have to start over from the beginning. 

Many sailors dream of cruising the world on a large yacht, but the expense, maintenance and restricted cruising range of such vessels has made many veteran sailors turning to smaller vessels to sail around the world. 

A smaller boat offers many clear advantages. It costs less to buy, refit and prepare for a world voyage, and the moorage fees will also be much less. Most of the equipment, from the anchor to the sails will be much cheaper to buy or replace for a smaller boat. It can access small bays and shallow rivers that are impossible to get to in a larger vessel with a deep draft. If it’s beachable, you won’t even need a dinghy to get to shore! 

You Don’t Need a Large Boat to Sail Around the World

It’s also a common misconception that a larger boat is necessarily more seaworthy. Large boats do often provide a more comfortable ride in rough seas, and they can usually complete passages faster, but a small, well designed and built vessel can be just as seaworthy as a larger boat, if not more so. Breaking waves cause much more stress to a vessel with more surface area, while a smaller boat will just bob up and down the waves like a corked bottle. In fact, if built from strong materials, a small boat can survive just about any storm thrown at it, although it may be a bumpy ride. 

So how small is too small? The answer comes down to comfort more than safety. People have crossed the oceans in boats smaller than the average dinghy, and a boat under 12 feet successfully sailed around the world. But to provide ample comfort for one or two crew, as well as carry ample supplies for many months of cruising, few sailors want to choose a vessel much smaller than a Flicka 20. Most cruisers find a 30 foot vessel comfortable to live on for extended periods, and a 35 to 40 foot vessel will provide more than enough space. For cruising families, a 35-40 foot catamaran provides a safe and comfortable platform for offshore cruising. 

In the end, the lower your budget, and the more cruising range you want, the smaller your boat should be, and if you are more concerned about comfort, you should go with a larger vessel.

How Many Hulls Do You Need

Once you have determined the ideal size of boat you want to sail, the next decision is how many hulls. Most sailors choose a monohull. Monohulls are cheap to maintain and moor, and the deep keel means that they usually right themselves immediately after a capsize. Multihulls will stay upside down if they ever end up that way, but it takes a really massive wave to flip them over in the first place. 

Trimarans are usually the fastest boats in the fleet, but they don’t usually have the same spacious accommodations that you will find on a cruising cat. Cruising catamarans are a nice compromise between a trimaran and a monohull, offering both a nice turn of speed and a spacious interior. 

The Rig

Once you have chosen the type and size of vessel, the next consideration is the rig. The vast majority of cruising sailboats today are bermudian rigged sloops, with two sails, the main and the jib. Cutters, while less popular for coastal cruising, offer several advantages over sloops for offshore sailors. The difference between a sloop and a cutter is that the latter has a second, smaller jib, called a staysail, which is located in between the mainsail and the primary jib. This third sail offers more sail options in stronger winds, and also allows the boat to point closer to the wind.

The extra forestay (which is usually supported by running backstays led aft) provides extra strength to the mast, and may save the vessel from a dismasting if you are ever caught with too much sail up or part of the standing rigging breaks mid-passage. 

Ketchs, yawls and schooners are less popular than they were in the 20th century, but many sailing traditionalists still prefer them due to the second mast providing more sail configurations to choose from. The mizzen sail (the sail set on the shorter mast further aft, except on schooners, which is the opposite setup) helps some vessels heave to or sit at anchor better, and provides a way to keep sailing if the main mast is ever broken at sea. 

Another even less common option is to sail with a freestanding mast that doesn’t rely on standing rigging at all for support. Some examples of this style are modern junk rigs and freedom yachts. The advantages to such a setup are many – it simplifies the rigging, has far fewer potential points for failure, and is cheaper to setup and maintain. Rigs like this are usually much heavier, however, and require a very strong deck and stepping point near the keel. 

The Keel

Before deciding on a boat, you will also want to consider the underwater profile. Like everything in the boating world, each style has its own advantages and disadvantages. Full keels are known for their solid construction and extra ballast, while fin keels are better options for those looking for speed and pointing ability. (If you choose a boat with a fin keel, it’s a good idea to make sure that she has a solid skeg to protect the rudder from damage caused by floating debris.) Those who want to sail in shallow seas may prefer a vessel with a daggerboard. 

You will also want to consider the steering setup for your ideal cruising yacht. Today, most boats over 30 feet use wheel steering, while most smaller cruising vessels are equipped with a tiller. Each captain has their own preference of the two.

Personally, I much prefer a tiller because it is directly connected to the rudder with almost no potential for mechanical failure, while a steering cable or hydraulic steering setup can easily break at sea. It’s also easier to tell the orientation of the rudder with a tiller, while some wheels are poorly marked. Of course, many sailors prefer a wheel for the similarity to steering a car, and for the distinguished look while pulling up to a dock. 

The displacement (overall weight) of the vessel will also have much effect on her sailing ability and seaworthiness. Typically, heavier vessels are slower, but may be much more comfortable to sail in rough seas. Lighter boats may get tossed around more by large swells, but recent construction techniques have made it possible to build a light, fast and strong vessel. 

Consider buying a boat with positive buoyancy. If you are unfortunate enough to take on a dangerous amount of water at some point during your voyage, having a boat that will continue to float even when full of water could very well save your life. Few production vessels are built this way, but there are a few exceptions, such as Sadler, West Wight Potter, and Etap Yachts. 

Where to Find the Boat?

Once you have a good idea of what type of vessel you are looking for, the next step is to actually find the right boat (for the right price). This can actually be more of a challenge than one might originally think. There are a whole lot of boats out there – but not always very many that check all the boxes. 

Be prepared to spend a lot of time searching if you want to find a good deal. Generally speaking, the longer that you are willing to wait for the ideal vessel, the better the boat you will eventually find. The best tactic in buying the right boat to sail around the world is to have your money ready – so you are prepared to make an offer when the right boat turns up – and then be willing to wait for the ideal vessel to turn up rather than spending money on a poor vessel, or a bad deal. 

If you are looking for a bargain vessel, there are various techniques that people use to score a cheap boat. Some buyers reach out to marinas to see if they have any vessels that have been abandoned or that were seized after the owner failed to pay moorage fees. You would be surprised how many marinas have boats that they are looking to auction off this way or even give away for free. Of course, most of these boats will need a lot of work to get them in good running condition again.

Used Sailboats

Another technique to find a great deal on a well equipped boat is to look for boats that are already out cruising in remote areas. Many people set off with the goal of sailing around the world or across the Pacific, but find after their first long passage that the lifestyle wasn’t for them. They may be looking to get rid of the boat as fast as possible and return to their lives back home – even if it means selling the boat for a very low price. 

Ask any captain – when the right boat comes along, you will know! If you have any doubts about a vessel that you are considering, then it’s not the right boat. 

Today, it’s easiest to begin your search online. Check out yacht broker websites like, run a google search for a few of your favorite models, and check out the classified ads on craigslist and facebook. If you find a boat that interests you, send a message to the broker or owner and learn as much as you can about the boat. If you like what you see, organize a viewing. 

Some people end up buying their boat sight unseen online, but that’s not recommended unless you have no other option. There are just too many scammers out there, and until you see the vessel in real life, it’s very difficult to get a real understanding of the actual condition of the boat. 

The Purchase Process

The purchase process itself is a necessary evil when you want to sail around the world. Buying a boat is a notoriously long and painful process. The first thing to do once you have decided on a boat is to make an offer to the seller. This may involve a down payment to keep them from selling to someone else while you are negotiating the terms of the sale. 

The next step is to hire a professional surveyor to go over the boat and write up a survey. Unless you are a highly skilled shipright, it’s a good idea to hire a professional to do the survey. A certified survey will help guarantee that the boat is sold as advertised without any hidden issues that could come up later. It’s also a good idea to go on a short sea trial with the old owner aboard, if possible. 

If the boat passes the survey and you agree on the purchase price with the seller, it’s time to make the payment and sign off on the documents. Remember to keep in mind any taxes and importation fees that could be necessary if you are buying a vessel overseas. Make sure that the registration and all other documents are up to date and meet the requirements for the country where you will be preparing the vessel for your circumnavigation. 

Preparing the Boat – the Refit

It’s very rare to buy a boat that is fully prepared for a sailing circumnavigation, so more likely than not you will need to spend a few months refitting the vessel for your world voyage. In this section we will go over some alterations that you will likely need to make before taking on the oceans. 

Most of your time at sea will be spent under sail, so having a strong, easy to manage rig and sails will be one of your biggest priorities. The first move is to make sure that the mast itself is in good condition and properly supported by the stays (the wires that hold up the mast). If the stays are older than five years, you should hire a professional rigger to carefully examine them and replace any that show signs of wear. At the same time, your rigger should inspect the chainplates and let you know if any need to be upgraded.

Once the standing rigging has been given an official nod of approval, you may want to consider modifying the rig to better suit offshore sailing. If the boat is rigged as a sloop, you may want to install an inner forestay and running backstays and convert her into a cutter. The inner forestay can be used to fly a staysail or storm jib in strong winds and the extra support could save your mast from a potential dismasting.

Consider Adding Mast Steps

Another modification to the rig you should seriously consider is adding mast steps. This will allow you to climb the mast to conduct repairs at sea or to check for reefs or obstructions in shallow water. Some sailors go offshore without steps leading to the top of the mast, but relying on a bosun’s chair to climb the mast at sea is foolish. 

Roller Furling Systems

Unless your vessel is already equipped with them, you will probably want to install roller furling for all the sails. Roller furling will allow you to reef or unreef the sails from the safety of the cockpit and will reduce sail changes from 20 minutes or more to under a minute. It will also give you unlimited reefing options, rather than just a couple set reefing points. 

You will reef the sails tens of thousands of times on your voyage, so roller reefing could save you many days worth of unnecessary work over the course of your voyage, and make your sailing experience safer, too. Some traditionalists are wary of roller furling systems, claiming that they are not safe or don’t always work when they are needed – but this fear is overrated. Roller furling systems have been around for over six decades and they have been proven on millions of vessels in all conditions. Properly maintained and operated furling gear should be reliable on any boat. 

Choose Sails

Next are the sails themselves. For a sailing circumnavigation, you will want a full set, including spares. For a cruising cutter, sailing around the world, you should sail with two mainsails, two cruising jibs (a 100% jib and a 150% genoa), at least one staysail, a storm jib, a storm trysail, and a light air sail like a gennaker or spinnaker. A gennaker set on a continuous line furler would be the best light air choice for solo sailing, as it’s easier to set and drop, and it can be used to sail closer to the wind than a traditional spinnaker. 

The Engine

After the rig is taken care of, it’s time to take a good look at the engine. If you purchased an older vessel, and it has the original engine, you may want to consider re-powering the vessel. Older combustion engines are notorious for breaking down at sea, and unless you have a well operating system, it could be a major headache over the course of your voyage. Many sailors are now turning to electric propulsion to get in and out of harbors, which is an especially attractive prospect for a self-sufficient offshore sailor who doesn’t want to seek out the fuel dock in every port. In the trade wind regions, the abundant wind and sun can keep the batteries charged up almost all the time, meaning after the initial costs of installation, electric propulsion could save you a boatload of money too.

Steering System

The next consideration should be your self steering systems. Ideally, you will have both a windvane and an autopilot. The windvane can be used while under sail and the autopilot will come in use for motoring or sailing in light air. If the windvane ever breaks down during a passage, you can use the autopilot to get you to port. 


Modern cruising vessels often consume a lot of electricity, so you will need to install equipment to keep the batteries fully charged at sea and at anchor. A few 100 watt solar panels and a wind generator usually do a good job of keeping the batteries topped up, but you may want to consider other sources of renewable energy as well, like a hydro generator or hydrogen cell. If all else fails, you can use the engine alternator to generate electricity when there is no sun or wind. 

With your source of energy taken care of, the next item on the list is batteries. For long distance cruising, you may want to install a large battery bank, with extra batteries in case one or more of them dies. 


If you have disposable income left over once the important items are taken care of, you may want to consider adding “comfort” items like refrigeration, hot water, a watermaker or air conditioning. These items aren’t essential for safe navigation at sea, but your boat will be your home for years at a time, so these extra investments will make your boat a more comfortable place to live. 

Preparing the Boat – Outfitting for the Voyage

Once your boat has been fully refitted, it’s time to outfit her for the world voyage. This is when you purchase all the gear, equipment, food and supplies that you will need to set out on the circumnavigation. 

The most important items to check off your list are safety gear, so we will start there. I will list the necessary safety equipment below and then go into more detail about the most important items.

  • Liferaft
  • Emergency Drinking Water
  • Emergency Food Rations
  • Handheld Watermaker
  • Flares
  • Handheld VHF Radio
  • Handheld GPS
  • Sat Phone or Messenger
  • Warm Clothing in Waterproof Bags
  • Emergency Blanket
  • Immersion Suits
  • First Aid Kit and personal medicines
  • Lighter
  • Knife
  • Flashlight
  • Portable Solar Charger (for electronics)
  • Money, Passports
  • Bucket, sponge and bailer
  • Liferaft repair kit
  • Fishing kit
  • Small line
  • Dinghy sea anchor
  • Sunscreen and sun hats


The most expensive and most important item on this list is your liferaft. This is one of your biggest investments that you hope you never need to use – but want to have ready, just in case. A few boaters choose to sail offshore without a liferaft, claiming that there is no need to have one, but unless your boat has positive buoyancy (a vessel with enough floatation that it will float even when it’s filled with water), then it’s an absolute necessity. Even with an unsinkable boat, a liferaft is a good idea. 


A dinghy is a good backup for a liferaft, but it should never be a replacement. Some dinghies are very robust and a few (like the Portland Pudgy, for example) have been designed to work as a liferaft in an emergency. But the problem arises when something unexpected happens and your boat sinks in a matter of minutes, or even seconds, and there is no time to launch a dinghy. Or in extreme circumstances when a dinghy would be washed away by breaking waves. The moment when you would be abandoning ship is the last time you want to be climbing around on the deck, trying to prepare the dinghy for launching, but a liferaft can simply be thrown in the water and will automatically inflate. 

Even Steven Callahan, the man who drifted for 76 days in a liferaft and designed a special sailing dinghy for emergencies at sea has said that it’s only for use as a backup and to carry a liferaft as well. 

Your liferaft should be certified for offshore use, and kept up to date on inspections and maintenance by a licensed facility. The liferaft should be kept in a secure location where it can be easily deployed in rough conditions. Although many sailors choose to keep their raft in a canister mounted on the foredeck, a liferaft stowed here can easily be swept overboard by a breaking wave in rough seas. 

Even a certified offshore raft is equipped with little in the way of survival equipment, so it’s necessary to keep a ditch bag near the raft, ready to go in case of disaster. The ditch bag should be totally waterproof, and contain everything you need to survive for several weeks adrift in a liferaft. 

Communication At Sea

The most important items in the ditch bag are the tools you can use to call for help. First, you should have at least one 406 hz EPIRB, which is a device that, once activated, sends a signal to rescue coordinators via satellite. Along with the EPIRB, you should also carry some form of long distance two way communication, such as a satellite phone or messenger. Unlike the EPIRB, which only sends a distress signal, the messenger will allow you to communicate with a rescue team and explain the details of the situation. 

A handheld VHF radio will give you a way to reach out to any passing ship for assistance. Many shipwrecked sailors were passed numerous times by would-be rescuers when their flares failed to light, and a small handheld radio would have saved them from many more weeks of survival at sea. You should also carry a handheld GPS as a means of emergency navigation. 

None of these handheld electronics will be of any use if they run out of battery, so your ditch bag should also contain some way of charging these devices, such as a portable camping solar charger and power bank. 

First Aid Kit

Part of any offshore sailing gear should be a well stocked first aid kit, along with guides for wilderness first aid. The ditch bag should also have a small separate first aid kit in case you are unable to grab the primary first aid kit in the event of having to abandon ship. 

Ground Tackle

Another important piece of equipment is the ground tackle. For a sailing circumnavigation, you will want to bring a primary anchor as well as at least two backup anchors. You will want to have at least 100 feet of chain and another 200 feet of anchor rode and one or two spare anchor rodes. 

Sea Anchor

For storm sailing, you will want to have a high quality sea anchor and drogue. Your spare anchor line should work fine for deployment of the drogue or sea anchor, as long as you have the necessary bridle and swivels, and you keep it ready for quick deployment in storm conditions. Sea anchors and drogues are often lost when the rode breaks, so it’s a good idea to have at least one backup for each. 

Much consideration should go into selection of your cruising dinghy – after all it will be like the family car during your circumnavigation. It should be large enough to comfortably transport all the crew (and sometimes a friend or two) as well as supplies and groceries to shore and back, but also small enough to be stowed on deck during offshore passages. Make sure that you have at least two pairs of oars and all the necessary spare parts if you use an outboard motor. 

If you plan to sail on a strict budget for the start of your circumnavigation, you will probably want to provision for up to a year’s worth of provisions and supplies prior to your departure. With a self-sufficient vessel and many months worth of stores, you should be able to cruise for almost free if you anchor out and avoid expensive tourist traps. Of course, you will want to regularly stock up on fresh food along the way, but by keeping a large surplus of food onboard your boat, you can reprovision only where food is cheap and live off your supplies in expensive ports.


Water is one of the most important considerations as you outfit the boat for extended cruising. Unless you carry a watermaker, you will want to plan to carry at least 1 gallon per person per day, plus an emergency reserve of at least 20 gallons. I like to keep half my water in the tanks and half in jerry jugs or water bottles so that there is plenty of water left over if the primary tanks are damaged or I ever take on bad water. You can top up when it rains and while in port. 


You will also want to stock up on fuel prior to your departure. Even if the boat has a large built-in fuel tank, I always like to make sure to bring a few handheld jerry jugs for extra fuel in case I end up motoring more than expected on a long passage. The jerry jugs will also come in handy if you ever need to fuel up somewhere that it’s difficult or impossible to use a fuel dock. 

Make sure that the boat carries enough cooking fuel for the first few months of the voyage. Some countries only fill propane from a different connection than is used in the states, so make sure to bring along any adapters that you may need in the first months of your voyage. 

Backup Cooking Modes

I also like to take at least one backup mode of cooking, in case the primary stove gives out or I’m not able to buy new fuel in time. On my boat, I have my primary propane stove, a small butane cooktop, a backpacking stove and a small wood stove that can be used to heat up food in an emergency. I have also used the charcoal barbecue to cook food and boil water in a jiffy. 

Even if you plan to be entirely self-sufficient at sea, you will want some way to obtain weather reports away from shore, and to get in touch with assistance in an emergency. A VHF radio is great while within 50 NM or so of land, but offshore you will need something with a longer range.

I recommend using a sat phone or messenger rather than a long range radio for reliability and direct communication abilities. My favorite two satellite communication devices are the InReach satellite messenger (for short texts and position reports) and the Iridium Go (for phone calls and full length emails). 

Today it’s possible to navigate all around the world with a smartphone or tablet (make sure it has a built-in GPS receiver) and a navigation app, but you may want a few extra tools to help you sail. A depth sounder is invaluable while making your way into poorly charted harbors or while navigating around sandbars and other hazards that shift position month by month.

A wind speed and direction indicator will help you set a good course and know when to reef the sails. An AIS (Automated Identification System) is invaluable for navigating through areas with heavy shipping. A radar will help with navigation through areas with heavy fog or sea ice. Of course, none of these accessories are absolutely essential, but they will all help. You may also wish to install a fixed Chartplotter in the cockpit or at the navigation station, to supplement the navigation software on your phone, tablet or laptop. 

One category of gear that is often overlooked by circumnavigators is clothing. Many sailors assume that they will spend the entire voyage dressed in a swimsuit and sunglasses, but in reality, you will encounter a wide variety of weather conditions on your voyage – from excruciating heat to quite near freezing.

Even a trade wind circumnavigation must pass either south of the Cape of Good Hope, or north through the Mediterranean, both destinations where you can expect to encounter your fair share of cold weather. You will also need decent foul weather gear for rough weather sailing, and formal wear for dealing with customs officials and other occasions. Below, I have included a general list of must-have clothing items to take on a round the world sail:

  • Warm weather shirts – t shirts, sleeveless shirts, and long sleeve shirts
  • Warm weather shorts and swimsuits
  • Long pants
  • Underwear
  • Socks – both lightweight and heavy for colder climates
  • Base layer bottoms
  • Base layer tops
  • Sweaters
  • Raincoats and rain pants
  • Winter parka
  • Foul weather gear
  • Sun hats
  • Beanies
  • Formal clothing
  • Sea boots
  • Hiking shoes
  • Sandals
  • Walking shoes
  • Gloves

You will also need to put together an extensive set of tools, spare parts and materials used to make repairs to the vessel and equipment. This should cover everything from replacing a broken shroud to fixing a broken radio to repairing a hole in the hull. A well prepared sailor will carry enough tools and repair materials to practically build a new vessel if they were shipwrecked on an uninhabited island!

Finally, you will want to bring along stuff to keep the crew entertained at sea. Every boat should have lots of fun items like fishing gear, books, magazines, snorkeling and diving gear, movies and games. Life in the digital age rarely affords people time for pursuing a hobby or to read a good book, but on your voyage around the world time will pass at a different pace. Take advantage of it and have fun!

Sea Trials – Getting to Know Your Boat

The refit is the time that you will get to understand the mechanics of the boat in and out and get a feeling for how to maintain and repair things that will break along the voyage. But it’s a very good idea to spend some time getting to know how your particular vessel sails before heading out on the longest voyage of your life. That’s where a sea trial enters the picture. 

Each boat reacts to the wind and the waves in it’s own unique way. Some boats almost take care of themselves in rough seas, while others need to be babied through stormy waters. By the time you bought your own boat to sail around the world, you will have sailed enough miles on other boats to have developed the skills that you need to sail offshore. But you still need to go on a serious sea trial with your own boat so that you know exactly how to handle her when the going gets tough – especially if you run into challenging conditions early in the world voyage.

A sea trial gives you a chance to see what works and what doesn’t on your boat and make changes in order to have her perfectly set up for your round the world voyage. On some routes (For example, if you depart from Florida and sail along the Caribbean Islands, or if you start in Europe and sail through the Med.) the beginning of your circumnavigation can function as your sea trial. 

But if your circumnavigation route begins with a long offshore passage, it’s essential to first put your vessel to the test. Take a few months and go on an extended trial voyage where you make a point of pushing your boat and yourself. This will make your actual circumnavigation much more fun, because the hard part of getting into the groove of offshore sailing is already over. 

The Next Step – Setting a Departure Date

Once everything is in order, all that is left is to pick a departure date. I like to pick a date well in advance – months or even a year prior. That way you have plenty of time to finish preparations and make sure everything is dialed down before departure. The last thing that you want is to be rushing around buying last minute items and making repairs in the hours leading up to the greatest adventure of your life. That’s a recipe for disaster. 

The well seasoned captain has finished their refit and outfitting months before their departure date and uses the months leading up to their world voyage to conduct sea trials and perfect their vessel. A week or two before your world voyage, you should be all finished with the boat work so that you can enjoy your last days ashore spending time with your family and friends.

A few days before the departure date, throw a small party at your place or by the marina celebrating your upcoming voyage. It could be a long time before you see them again.

The day of departure all you have to do is walk down to your boat, turn on the engine and go. Sail ten or twenty miles from your home port and find a peaceful harbor to anchor up, take a deep breath and think about the scope of the journey that you have just embarked on. Enjoy a pleasant night’s sleep on the boat that will be your home for the next few years.

In the morning, raise your anchor and go. Savor the freedom. You are on your way around the world. 

Final Thoughts

Sailing around the world has never been more accessible. After gaining knowledge and the necessary preparations, the next step is to acquire a boat. Use the information from this guide to find the right boat to bring you and your crew safely around the world.

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