How to navigate around the world with no experience! | catamaran freedom (2023)

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Sailing is more dangerous than driving...

Is sailing more dangerous than driving?

When I started sailing I thought I could just start my circumnavigation and go with it as it happened. Go out to open water and start heading west; this was not a smart idea. But how to navigate the world in a smarter way?

You can sail around the world without any experience. There are several opportunities to sail around the world for new sailors. Some crews are happy to accept volunteers on their world voyage. There are also historical examples of solo travelers sailing the world without any experience.

Now that we know it's possiblesail around the world without any experience, there are a few more questions to be explored. In this article, I'll show you the different possibilities for sailing around the world and the prep work involved in embarking on your sailing trip.

How much experience do you need to sail around the world?

You don't need any experience to sail around the world. You can start with shorter legs and over time build your knowledge and skill set.Another option is to join a crew, most boats accept inexperienced candidates.

Although you don't need any experience, I recommend seeking some kind of experience first. You don't want to spend two weeks into your two year trip, only to find that sailing isn't as appealing as you thought.

Also, having some experience, even if it's just a weekend trip, will make your search for a crew a lot less complicated. I know what you're thinking – How can I get experience as a new sailor?

Three Easy Ways to Get Surfing Experience for Beginners

Like most other activities, starting to sail is the hardest part. Embarking on your first trip can be like applying for your first job after college.

Luckily, there are some easy ways to get beginner surfing experience:

  1. Join a local sailing club.Most cities with a decent body of water will have a sailing club. Sailing clubs are a fantastic way for beginners to explore the world of sailing. You can check online to see if there is a nautical club near you!
  2. Take a sailing course for beginners.There are organizations likeAmerican Sailing Associationwho offer courses for beginners. Having a class completed from an organization will make you more attractive to potential teams. Also, it could give you the experience you need to sail around the world on your own.
  3. Join a chartered boat.Joining a boat charter without experience is more complicated than the other options listed above. Joining a chartered vessel is more like finding a job than joining a club or taking a course. Remember to be persistent and professional, and I'm sure you'll find a charter boat to take you aboard.

Now that you're planning to get some experience before your global sailing journey, let's go over some of the logistics for starting your journey.

How do I get on a boat to sail around the world with no experience?

How to navigate around the world with no experience! | catamaran freedom (1)

You can hop on a boat to sail the world without any experience by joining a novice race, volunteering to join a crew, leveraging connections with friends or family, and sharing the cost of a boat with a group.

Join the Clipper race

The Clipper Round The World Race is a world race for beginners. Each team in the Clipper Race sails an identical 70-foot (21.33-meter) yacht.

The Clipper Race will take you through an eight stage race spanning 40,000 nautical miles across the world. Additionally, participants can complete just one leg or all eight. The Clipper Race's flexibility in duration makes this a fantastic opportunity for new sailors.

Another bonus for new sailors is the qualified captain and first mate provided. Having two experienced sailors to guide your journey makes the Clipper Race a safe opportunity for novice sailors.

Volunteer to join a crew

Joining a boat as a volunteer is among the most common methods for new sailors to travel the world on a sailboat. Keeping a sailboat moving around the world is challenging work, so small crews will be happy to take it on.

Offering a specific service will increase your chances of getting on a ship. Here are some popular services people offer for a sailboat berth:

  1. covering hand:A sailor offers manual labor services on a sailboat. They are responsible for cleaning, moving loads and maintaining equipment.
  2. Cuisine:Beginning sailors often volunteer their services as cooks to get a volunteer position on a boat. Volunteering as a cook is a popular choice because you don't need any boating experience to prove yourself.
  3. Tutoring:If you have some teaching experience, a family can take you along on their trip. Navigating around the world is a time consuming activity. Therefore, families will hire a tutor to homeschool their children while at sea so that parents can focus on sailing.

The services listed above only scratch the surface of the services you could offer a sailing crew. Think about the skills you have that can be applied to the services needed to navigate around the world.

Use a personal connection to find a boat

Using the personal connection is a tried and true method to start your sailing journey around the world. Finding a friend, family member, or even someone who knows someone you know takes the uncertainty out of looking for a spot on a chartered boat.

If you still don't know anyone with a sailboat, don't worry! Joining a sailing club, participating in a sailing race or even taking a tour of the local marina can connect you with a sailboat owner sooner than you might think.

Buy a boat with your friends or family

The third method I'll cover for getting a boat for your trip is to split the cost with friends or family. If you know someone who shares your dream of traveling the world by sail, sharing the costs associated with owning a boat is a viable way to go.

If you can't think of anyone interested in starting a boat-sharing program, there are other methods to find other world boaters. For example, you can post to the boat club's Facebook groups.

Where there is a will, there is a way! If you search, you'll find like-minded sailors to join your around-the-world sailing trip.

What license/qualification/documents do I need to sail around the world?

How to navigate around the world with no experience! | catamaran freedom (2)

If you're sailing on a small sailboat, you'll probably never be asked for a license. However, specific licenses and qualifications will be required to join a chartered boat. In addition, regular travel documents such as a passport are essential for the world.

Although different regions have different requirements for a boating license, obtaining the necessary license is easier than it seems. The ease of obtaining navigation licenses is due to internationally recognized navigation licenses.

Two most common international shipping licenses

Two sailing credentials will help you maintain a good international legal standing, as well as make yourself more attractive to charter companies.

  1. International Certificate of Competence (ICC):The United Nations recognizes the ICC. Recognition by the United Nations makes the ICC a valid qualification for most chartered vessels in Europe and the Mediterranean.
  2. International Navigation License and Credentials (SLC):SLC is a recreational boating license accepted by charter companies around the world. Specifically, the SLC is valid in Europe and the Seychelles.

Obtaining either of these two qualifications will differ depending on your location. Do more research online to learn about the prerequisites needed in your region.

What travel documents do I need to sail around the world?

Traveling across country borders requires typical travel documents. You must have a valid passport for the entire duration of your trip and a secondary photo ID. Travel medical insurance is not required, but it is worth purchasing for a world sailing expedition.

How long does it take to learn to sail around the world?

How to navigate around the world with no experience! | catamaran freedom (3)

The time it takes to learn to sail around the world without any experience is between two months and three years. Many sailors have embarked on global sailing voyages without any experience. On the other hand, some sailors train for years beforeThey feel ready to circumnavigate the globe.

The best advice I can give is to start small. If you're planning a solo sailing adventure, practice honing your sailing skills in a small boat, like a 30-footer.

Hone your skills and gain useful information from fellow sailors. Once you feel comfortable sailing solo, you can consider world travel.

Three people who sailed the world with little or no experience

Were you looking for inspiration to embark on your sailing journey? Look no further than these three sailors who have crisscrossed the world on a sailboat with little to no sailing experience.

Chay Blyth

Chay Blyth was a Scottish sailor who embarked on a global sailing journey with no experience in 1968. Blyth's sailing journey was aboard a 30-foot yacht called the English Rose III.

Blyth's global journey on the English Rose III was part of the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, the first yacht race around the world.

Author Peter Nichols wrote a book calledA trip for crazy(available on about Blyth's participation in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race. InA trip for crazy, Nichols wrote,

“Few people who leave a dock to sail an afternoon dinghy go away with less experience than Chay Blyth had when he sailed alone around the world.”

Tania Aebi

Tania Aebi was the youngest American woman to sail the world solo at the time.Aebi started his journey at the age of 18, in May 1985.

Although Aebi was not new to sailing, her previous sailing experience was nothing out of the ordinary. A few years before their three-year world voyage, Aebi and her family embarked on a six-month voyage across the Atlantic Ocean.

Aebi departed New York in 1985 and managed a triumphant return to New York City in late 1987.

If an 18 year old can successfully circumnavigate the globe with little experience, I'm sure you can too!

Noemi James

James had a connection with a sailor we talked about earlier. Naomi James' husband Rob James used to work for Chay Blyth as a yacht captain.

In 1978, Naomi James became the first woman to sail solo around the world.

Naomi James' connection to the legendary sailor Blyth paid off. The yacht that Naomi James sailed the world on was loaned to her by Chay Blyth in 1975. The boat was initially called the Spirit of Cutty Shark, and Naomi James renamed it the Daily Express prior to her expedition.

With just six weeks of sailing experience, Naomi James began her non-stop sailing journey around the world.

Despite challenges like losing her radio and turning over, Naomi James completed her journey just 272 days after embarking.

Chay Blyth, Tania Aebi and Naomi James are inspiring stories of people who circumnavigated the globe with no experience.

You might want to work on getting more experience than the sailors listed above. However, it's good to know that people completed these trips with almost no experience.

Can I build my own boat and sail around the world?

How to navigate around the world with no experience! | catamaran freedom (4)

You can build your own boat and sail around the world. While most sailors buy their ships, if you're willing to build your own, you can save money and learn new skills.

Building your craft will take time and patience, and you'll have to use the right procedures and materials, but it's doable if you're dedicated enough.

How much does it cost to build your own catamaran!

final thoughts

It's reasonable to navigate the world with no experience. There are many examples of sailors who embarked on successful global sailing voyages.

Though navigating the world with absolutely no experience isn't for everyone. I recommend gaining some local experience before embarking on a multi-year global sailing expedition.


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