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


Are you just going to pick up and go or did it take a long time to plan?

The daydreaming has gone on for quite a while, but a trip of this magnitude is not to be taken lightly. As for the serious planning, we started telling people in November 2005 and we’d already done a fair bit by then. Along the way, there have been hundreds of hours of planning and dozens of books read. We could have completed the plan in less time, but, weather-wise, December is the ideal time to set off from the Eastern United States and we weren’t anywhere near ready by last December.

What will be the longest stretch that you sail without seeing land?

There are three major oceans for us to cross: the Pacific, the Atlantic and the Indian. The Pacific crossing (approximately 2,900 miles) will probably be the longest in terms of time – probably about three weeks. The Atlantic crossing from the Canary Islands to Barbados (approximately 2,800 miles) should be a bit faster and bumpier. The Indian crossing from the Maldives to Djibouti is just under 2,000 miles with generally cooperative conditions.

What is the longest amount of time that you have sailed without seeing land in the past?

We went 10 days from Ft. Lauderdale to Panama without any land.

Do you get to sleep?

When we are underway, someone will be awake at all times. When there are three or more of us, this should be very easy. When it is just the two of us, this will be somewhat tiring, but it is also very important – mostly to avoid container ships and tankers. Much like airplanes look like they are moving slowly in the air, tankers look like they are moving slowly over the seas, but they emphatically are not. From the time a tanker appears on the horizon to when it could run us down could be as little as 15 minutes as they are steaming along at easily 20 knots. By the way, two people sleeping together in the same bed while underway is virtually impossible.

What are all those the items listed in the specifications table?

LOA means “length overall” which is the length of the boat is from stem to stern.

LWL means “length at the waterline” which is the length of the boat from where it touches the water in the front.

The beam is the width of the boat at its widest point.

The draft is the depth of the boat at its deepest point.

The displacement is essentially how much the boat weighs.

Ballast is any solid or liquid placed in a boat to increase the depth of submergence of the vessel in the water (the draft), to regulate the stability, or to maintain stress loads within acceptable limits.

What kinds of sails do you have?

We have a fully-battened mainsail (with Leisurefurl in-boom furling), a 135% genoa, a 110% working jib, a staysail, and a gennaker. The combination of sails to use depends on weather, wind speed, wind direction, and sometimes comfort of the crew (heel, splash, turbulence, etc.).

What are the above items?

Battens are long thin strips of wood or fiberglass used to support the sail’s shape.

The mainsail is the boat’s main sail which is placed on the boom (the stick parallel to the boat) and the mast (the stick perpendicular to the boat).

Furling is the action of gathering in some portion or all of a sail rendering that portion inoperative.

The genoa (pronounced like the city) is one type of front sail which is larger than a jib and overlaps the mainsail.

The staysail is the innermost jib.

A gennaker is considered a cross between a genoa (asymmetrical) and a spinnaker (not attached to the forestay). It’s primarily used for sailing downwind (wind is coming from behind).

I see that this boat was designed by Robert Perry. Is that good?

Bob Perry is a very reputable designer who has designed a number of the best cruising boats ever built, including the Valiant 40 (the boat with more circumnavigations than any other), six different Passport models and a handful of different Tayanas. Perry designs account for approximately 5,000 boats presently on the water. There are more Tayana 37′s cruising offshore than any other single design according to George Day, the Editor of BLUE WATER CRUISING.

What will you eat?

Andy is quite excited about the prospects of fishing and diving for dinner. To the extent his exploits are successful, we will be enjoying a lot of fresh seafood (mostly tuna, mahi-mahi and wahoo). When the fish aren’t biting, there promises to be a lot of noodle and rice dishes. We have both a refrigerator and a freezer on board, so we will be able to conveniently store perishables.

Do you have a motor?

Spectacle has a 100 HP Yanmar diesel engine. This is a fairly beefy engine for a boat of Spectacle’s size. Hopefully, this means that we will be placing less stress on the engine (when we use it), resulting in fewer problems. The motor is essential for maneuvering in tight and/or high traffic areas (i.e. marinas), as well as helpful in uncooperative wind conditions — if the wind is blowing in our faces or not blowing at all, we can still make progress using the motor. This will be a big help in notoriously uncooperative areas with highly variable wind conditions (like the doldrums or the Red Sea).

How fast does the boat go?

The speed of a displacement sailboat is 95+% dictated by its LWL – length at the waterline. The formula (in knots) for top speed (or “hull speed”) is 1.34 x the square root of LWL (in feet). In our case, that’s almost exactly 8.5 knots (about 9.8 miles per hour). Under power, the boat can go at just about hull speed, but this is a highly inefficient use of fuel. Under power, about 6.5 knots is typical.

What do you do about electricity?

In addition to producing power through the alternator on our diesel engine, Spectacle has a separate Panda diesel generator. It also has one small solar panel, but this produces very little power.

Where do you stay once you get to a destination?

The vast majority of the time, we will be sleeping on the boat. After all, it does have three staterooms. However, every once in a while we will be taking tours inland or checking out particularly enticing seaside resorts. I’m sure there will also be times when we are just sick of the boat and want to get away from it for a few days.

Are pirates real?

Yes, but pirate incidents are very rare. We put the odds of a serious incident at well under 1-in-100. We will take the customary precautions as we sail between Yemen and Somalia, where most of the world’s serious incidents occur.

Will you bring guns?

Certainly not for the first year, almost certainly not for the second year, and probably not for the third year. More than anything, guns create undue bureaucratic headaches in a lot of locations. The remote likelihood of being in a situation where having a gun would actually help is, for us, outweighed by the certainty of the aforementioned hassles.

Why are you going through the Panama Canal?

(1) Because it is faster (by many months, and (2) because sailing around Cape Horn to weather (i.e. into the wind) is totally crazy – it is just about the most dangerous thing one can attempt on a boat. In fact, right at the tip of Cape Horn is a monument to all the sailors that have died there. We’re not out to be the most macho sailors on the ocean. We just want to get around.

Why are you going through the Suez Canal?

Because sailing around the world and missing out on the Mediterranean Sea would be a crying shame.

What areas are you most excited to see?

Andy: (1) Sri Lanka, (2) Galapagos, (3) Fiji, (4) French Caribbean (St. Barts/Guadeloupe/Martinique), (5) Bonaire (for the diving), (6) Croatia

Melissa: (1) Society Islands, (2) Egypt, (3) Galapagos, (4) Asia, (5) New Zealand, (6) Sydney

How many total miles will you travel over the entire 3 year trip?

Somewhere around 33,000 nautical miles (38,000 statute – or “land” – miles).

If you were racing, how fast could you actually complete the circumnavigation?

If a train leaves Philadelphia going 15 miles per hour and another train leaves St. Louis going 18 miles per hour . . . just joking. If the boat averages about 150 miles per 24 hours, that means it would take about 220 days if (a) the weather always cooperated, (b) we never needed to stop, and (c) nothing broke. Let’s just call that HIGHLY hypothetical. Besides, what’s the rush?

How do you know where you are in the middle of the ocean?

The easiest answer is “GPS.” We will also have extensive electronic and paper charts. We actually really like using paper charts . . . it feels very salty and we get to use cool tools.

Will it be hard sailing like I see in the movies or on the America ‘s Cup or that scary Sydney-to-Hobart race I saw on the Discovery Channel where everyone was getting dismasted and sinking?

We certainly hope not. We have very carefully planned our whereabouts to try to minimize the amount of scary weather. Frankly, much of the sailing that we’ll be doing will border on boring because of consistent wind patterns.

What if you get into bad weather?

Well, there are steps you take. This is a very seaworthy boat. I’m not saying we could ride out Hurricane Katrina, but this boat is capable of handling some pretty awful conditions. Mostly, we will plan carefully and avoid unnecessary risk.

Do you have a life raft?

You bet – it holds six.

What other emergency equipment do you have?

The prime other emergency equipment is an EPIRB – an emergency position-indicating rescue beacon. This is just what it sounds like – a waterproof, nearly idiot-proof “911″ signal that will tell the appropriate authorities our location within 100 yards.

Have you seen Dead Calm, Wind, and Captain Ron?

Could “Captain Ron” have been any stupider? Maybe . . . it could have been “Wind.” And, no, if Billy Zane is looking for a lift, we won’t pick him up.

Do you have to steer the wheel the whole time?

Thankfully not – that would make things a LOT tougher. The boat has a very stout autopilot. Although it uses quite a bit of power, it will be operating the large majority of the time.

Do you have radar?

Sure do.

Can you bathe at sea?

We have not one but TWO showers on the boat. We’ll probably use them every other day on short passages and every third day on longer passages. They even have hot water. In addition to the shower, the boat has a swim step that provides “hose-down” opportunities.

What if you run out of water?

We’ll be really thirsty. Seriously though, the boat has a water desalinator that makes water faster than we can drink it.

Can’t find an answer to your question?

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