Halfway around the world last 12 months
24 March 2019
We left Panama for Galapagos one year ago. Since then, we have sailed a distance more than half-way around the world!
Total distance we have sailed in the past 12 months is 12,877 nautical miles (14,800 statute miles). The earth circumference is 21,639 nautical miles (about 25,000 statute miles). We have sailed more than half way around the world in the last year. To get to French Polynesia we sailed less than 5,000 miles. But French Polynesia is huge, about the size of Europe. We have criss-crossed the island chain numerous times to see the wide variety of beautiful spots here.
Mini lesson about nautical miles. The earth is divided into 180 degrees from the North to the South Pole. Equator is 0 degrees. North Pole is 90N and South Pole is 90S. Each degree is 60 geometric minutes. Each minute is 60 geometric seconds. A second of latitude is defined as one nautical mile. This makes it easy to measure distances on a chart that shows lines of latitude.
Some more numbers. Average speed is around 7 knots. That's 3,100 hours or 129 days of sailing! A lot of those miles have been short hops so we haven't spent 129 days and nights at sea. I would guess it has been less than 100 days total.
By comparison, we sailed only about 1,500 miles/summer on Lake Michigan. That was a lot compared to most boats in our area. We spent three weeks cruising the North Channel of Lake Huron, an idyllic cruising ground....3 months of the year. The start of the North Channel was 300 miles from Milwaukee. Across Lake Michigan is about 70 miles. We made that trip several times a year.
Our first year cruising took us all the way from Milwaukee to Grenada, 5,000 miles. Once in the Eastern Caribbean, the cruising ground is only about 330 miles long, the length of Lake Michigan. But our second year in the Caribbean we made longer trips to Tobago, Barbados and Bermuda for the America's Cup races. That added a lot of miles.
One would think these miles have been hard on Uproar. Not at all. I have often said, “You don't wear a sailboat out by sailing it.” We have put some age on our sails but that's all. What is more remarkable, we have hand steered a tiny fraction of those miles. Our Raymarine autopilot is the best crew (besides Lisa) one can have. He tirelessly steers Uproar day and night and just sips a bit of battery.
Last year we only burned 230 gallons of diesel. That is probably less than 1,200 miles motoring. We use diesel for battery charging and for our watermaker too. Other years we burn about 140 gallons/year.
So that's it for the numbers. Jumping off from Panama into the vast Pacific did produce some butterflies. Once underway, it became a way of life. Our 18 days from Galapagos to Marquesas sounds like a long time. Well it was! But when we get in the groove of a passage, our bodies adapt and we enjoy the ride. Now when we undertake a passage of several days duration, it seems like just a day sail.
Everyone asks about storms. I asked Lisa what passages included storms. She said none. But we have had some rough rides where waves swept over the boat. They were not at all pleasant but short lived. When the wind blows, we reef the sails smaller and Uproar just keeps going. We sometimes just go below and ride it out while Uproar does the heavy lifting. We peek out to look for traffic and monitor our AIS (commercial ship and yacht transmitted signals) which can monitor from below.
Plan for the next year will be to stay in French Polynesia. It would take a lifetime to see everything there is to see here. No way will we sail 12,800 miles but passages between islands can be over 700 miles. What we really look forward to is living in FP at anchor, among cruising friends, local friends, and some of the most beautiful water in the world.