SAIL

AROUND, ALONE

What is it that makes someone want to sail alone and nonstop around the world? I’m just an average guy from Petosky, Michigan, who learned to sail on his dad’s Hobie 16. When I first started sailing offshore in my 20s, mostly working as crew on delivery trips, I found the same books aboard many of the boats, written by such great sailors as Bernard Moitessier, Francis Chichester, Robin Knox-Johnston, Joshua Slocum and Miles Smeeton. I was spellbound by what I considered these truly great sailors and the adventures they’d had. They set my imagination ablaze with thoughts of sailing in the high latitudes and in the Southern Ocean. I was hooked from the first time I read about the 1968 Golden Globe Race, and as most sailors do, I wondered what it would be like to make such a voyage. Little did I know that my sailing life would come full circle, that someday I would be writing about my own trip around the world. It was just a dream back then, and I thought I had little chance of actually taking on my own circumnavigation.

It wasn’t until I started working as head watersports instructor at the Bitter End Yacht Club in the BVI that I thought I might actually make those dreams come true. I saved up for a few years to buy a Westsail 32, a boat with a proven track record of seaworthiness and one that was within my means to adapt to a challenging solo circumnavigation (see sidebar). I also did a few solo trips out of Florida and the BVI, and took her north to Maine by myself in early 2017. By the time I arrived I’d racked up 9,000 miles on the boat, so I knew her well. I’d also decided to rename her Mighty Sparrow in honor of the people of the Caribbean, my spiritual home. With the help of my father and brothers, I then spent the following summer working on the boat with an eye toward leaving from Gloucester, Massachusetts, in October.

The plan was simple, on paper at least: to circumnavigate solo, unsponsored, unassisted and nonstop via the five great capes—Cape Agulhas (Africa), Cape Leeuwin (Australia), South East Cape

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