The Voyage


Andy and Melissa are sailing around the world on their 48-foot sailboat, Spectacle.

The Position

Bali, Indonesia

The Pictures

The Voyage of Spectacle

Archive for August, 2006

Fall Schedule

Posted by: andy

When we planned our departure schedule, we figured we would be spending the fall doing all manner of boat-improvement projects in Fort Lauderdale . What we didn’t anticipate was that we would be buying a boat that is almost entirely ready to go already.

When we realized that our fall was not going to be as chock-full of projects as we had thought, Melissa decided to go to Bikram yoga instructor certification training, something she has wanted to do for years. This twice-annual teacher training starts September 17 in Los Angeles and runs through November 18. She’ll live at my mother’s house in Glendale and be off contorting in 105-degree rooms for 3 hours per day. Sounds like a party!

It won’t surprise you that I, on the other hand, have no desire to become a yoga instructor. So I will be off to Florida. Instead of scores of do-it-yourself projects, we are faced with mostly just learning all the ins and outs of the boat systems. Spectacle is a very complicated piece of machinery and I am not the most mechanically inclined individual. Just sitting down with the manuals and getting a sufficient working knowledge of all the relevant systems is probably going to take me at least 20 days on the boat. While there, I’ll also take in a few college football games in my spare time. I’ll also be making several trips home to visit Melissa.

Quite a lot is involved in uprooting one’s life and leaving the country for three years, and it’s all coming up very soon. The moving truck comes on August 23. We begin our cross-country drive (so we’ll have a car in Florida) on August 28 (with a stop for USC vs. Arkansas in Fayetteville on September 2). We are officially out of our house in San Clemente on September 15 – less than five weeks away!


Posted by: andy

I know that some of you are wondering what our day-to-day lives are going to be like when we are “out there.”  Well, I want to recommend a fantastic log maintained by another young couple (younger than we are, actually) who are circumnavigating over almost exactly the same course over almost exactly the same schedule.   The difference is that they have a three year headstart, which means that they are presently in the Mediterranean, sailing from Turkey to Greece.

They are Pat and Ali from Minneapolis/Chicago and their boat is named Bumfuzzle. This is a great boat name and a great couple.   Their web site is  We’re hoping to meet up with them this winter in the Caribbean, just before they finish their voyage in Florida.

A lot of pself-pstyled (and pself-important) pseudo-psalty psailors have their knickers in a twist over Pat and Ali.   They left on this journey without decades of experience, without excessive psuffering and drama, and without the kind of “authentic” credibility that many of these pseudo-psalty psailors seem to require.   As a result, they have often been psavaged by armchair idiots/poseurs who enjoy a Pussers on the rocks from the comfort of their insurance-agency office in Milwaukee while they lament how sailing has gone “to the birds” because actual pself-psupporting, attractive young people are out doing it while the critics are still at home.   It’s quite psilly, actually.

We think their journey is fantastic.  We think their site is fantastic.   We root for them constantly.  We strongly encourage you to check out their website for (a) some insight into what our lives will be like and (b) some great entertainment.   They have done a fantastic and entertaining job of communicating the essentials of what their trip is all about.

This is not to say our journey will be the same.  Obviously, there will be some stark differences (for starters, think Michelin stars vs. McDonald’s).   There are things that I already know that we disagree about (e.g. catamarans vs. monohulls).  But, on balance, I must say that they have been a major inspiration to us and I hope that you will enjoy reading their site as much as we have.   For that matter, I secretly hope that they will enjoy reading our site as much as we have enjoyed reading theirs.  Fair Winds, Ali and Pat!

Route Planning — There’s a Method to It

Posted by: andy

People have asked about how we have planned our route. The answer is pretty simple: we mostly let Jimmy Cornell do it for us.

Cornell’s book “World Cruising Routes” is, more than any other, the one must-have book for the circumnavigating sailor. In addition to detailed instructions on how to get from just about every conceivable Point A to just about every conceivable Point B (it’s a big book), it has detailed weather information and suggested circumnavigation plans, which can be tweaked here and there.

The biggest factor involved is that there are certain parts of the world in which you just can’t safely sail during certain parts of the year. The prime reason for this is cyclonic storms (i.e. hurricanes). For example, Atlantic hurricane season officially begins July 1 and ends December 1 (except, of course, on the rare occasion Mother Nature disagrees — last year’s Hurricane Epsilon lasted until December 8 – only the sixth December Hurricane ever recorded). It’s not an accident that we are beginning our journey on December 9. Similarly, South Pacific cyclone season runs from December to March. We’re going to be sure to have the boat in New Zealand – and out of the cyclone belt – by November 15.

Given the prevailing winds (which make sailng westward easier) and the weather patterns, the course and the timing are largely decided for you. Of course, we have to keep our fingers crossed that our ever-warming earth won’t start deviating from the patterns that mariners have relied upon for centuries. Last summer wasn’t particularly encouraging.

If you are wondering to yourself, “Hey, isn’t it hurricane season where their boat is right now?” The answer is yes. We’re checking The Weather Channel every day, hoping to avoid a replay of Summer 2005 and, in our case, especially something like Wilma.

Fortunately, Spectacle is fairly far up the New River, so a hurricane storm surge is unlikely to cause major problems for us . . . but you can bet that we check every single day.