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The beginning

Kate and Jim were living in London when Jim mentioned sailing.  He'd recently bumped into a friend who lived on a boat for a few years.  Jim was a sailor, Kate was not but that conversation sparked a 'crazy pipe dream' which turned into an obsession... how to live on a sailboat full-time and travel the world. 

Fed up with traversing airports every week for work only to then be tied to the office and, frightened by the prospect of a never-ending mundane routine for life, they made a decision to change everything.  

They started to ask questions. What had others done to make it happen? What if they could make it happen? What would they have to give up? What would they need to learn? What were the risks, and were they worth taking? What would life look like then? 

 

After over a year of preparation including in-depth research, practical and theoretical training courses, test sails, a bareboat charter holiday and boat shows, they turned ordinary life on its head. They sold almost everything, bought Polaris and set off on the sabbatical of a lifetime -to sail around the world in three years.

 

There was one thing that became very clear early on though. They had fallen in love with the lifestyle; being as close to nature as possible, moving their home wherever they went, accessing places so remote and unspoiled, that they never wanted to leave. They encountered cultures, wildlife and landscapes that changed their outlook forever. They made lifelong friends with resourceful, fun and open-minded world sailors along the way. They knew in their hearts three years would never be enough. They were made for this.

 

Five and a half years later that sabbatical has morphed into an all-consuming, more fulfilling way of life with no end in sight. Remote work helps keep them afloat and their work-life balance is seriously well-proportioned. 

 

The passage so far

Starting in France in 2018 at the Catana boatyard, their journey has taken them east through the Mediterranean, back west to the Canaries, Cape Verdes and across the Atlantic Ocean. They sailed up and down the eastern Caribbean getting 'stuck' in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines for a year during Covid 2020. Fully vaccinated they then continued through the Dutch Antilles. From there they sailed to Colombia, the San Blas islands and Panama and transited the Panama Canal in March 2022. The gates of the final lock creaked open to reveal the Pacific Ocean.  

 

An uneventful passage to the Galapagos islands was followed by the longest passage of their lives to French Polynesia. After one magnificent year there, half of which was spent in some of the most isolated, pristine coral atolls in the world, they made the difficult decision to press on and explore some more of Polynesia and the South Pacific. They reached Samoa after a tricky passage with all sorts of weather followed by Tonga and then Fiji. 

 

The latest and perhaps most challenging legs of their journey took them to Vanuatu on what Kate still describes as the worst passage she can remember, then onto New Caledonia in a bid to outrun a cyclone which turned out to be a category five but which went far north of their path. Their last ocean passage was to Bundaberg, Australia, which felt like a culture shock being back in a predominantly English-speaking country with such plentiful supplies of provisions.

 

In recent months, they have worked their way south careful to avoid jellyfish, spiders, snakes, killer birds and other dangerous creatures. They reached Sydney in time for Christmas and New Year's Eve celebrations and in doing so fulfilled a bucket list dream: to watch the fireworks display around the city and its Opera house and harbour bridge, surrounded by great friends onboard their own boat.

 

Realities

When they're not sailing for days and nights on end, they enjoy the destination where they seek out kite spots, hikes and the underwater world. Jim always says sailing is the easy part:  one of the biggest aspects of this lifestyle is keeping the boat and all its systems ship shape so that it can continue to be a safe, sea-worthy vessel and full-time home equipped for independent off-grid living.  The maintenance of these systems is a full-time job in itself.

Life onboard can be much cheaper than living in a city. However, there are sometimes unavoidable costs which they try to mitigate as much as possible by learning to make fixes themselves rather than pay others to do so. Being the in-house engineer, plumber, electrician, rigger and I.T support is crucial to keeping costs down and ensuring independence, especially in remote places. 

 

In addition, sourcing spare parts, fuel, cooking gas and at times, even basic food and other provisions can be impossible, complicated or at the very least a tiring and lengthy process.  Many say that sailors keep fit just by doing these things which often involve long hikes in hot weather with heavy bags.

 

Weather is another important reality -Jim and Kate are beholden to the weather and much of their global route planning works around cyclone and hurricane seasons to keep them as far from harm's way as possible. Every morning and evening they check the weather to decide where to go or not as the case may be. Part of this lifestyle involves disappointment when plans change and therefore,  keeping an open mind and being ready to shift plans 180 degrees overnight is very important.

Today

Jim and Kate have sailed over 25,000 nautical miles and are over halfway around the world.  On the East coast of Australia, they are exploring, catching up with old friends and keeping south of the cyclone belt until April '24.  From there who knows? They say the plans of sailors are always written in the sand at low tide... 

Self-preservation, perseverance and

flexibility keep the dream a reality.

 




 

Kate and Jim onboard Polaris
Kate on watch
Huge Mahi Mahi catch
Kiteboarding Bora Bora
Kiteboarding French Polynesia
Mount Yasur constantly erupting volcano
Massive yellow fin tuna catch
Downwind spinnaker sailing
Scuba diving Tahiti
Sunset onboard our catamaran
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