Our Circle

The blue lines represent routes we sailed.  The green lines represent land and air travel. The red line represents the track of the BBC Everest which was the transport ship that carried BeBe through the pirated waters of the Indian Ocean, Gulf of Aden and Red Sea.   We have completed our circle or circumnavigation and are in the Caribbean.

S/V BeBe flying the courtesy flags of all 
countries visited during our circle.
A few of the statistics of our circle of this earth: (We began tracking these statistics of 15 April 2008 when we transited the Panama Canal; these stats do not include 2006 and 2007 in the Caribbean.)

  • Distance traveled by BeBe with us on board: 34,989 nautical miles
  • Distance BeBe was transported aboard BBC Everest in 2011:  3,866 NM
  • Total distance of our completed circle: 38,855 nautical miles.  We did not keep track of miles traveled tacking or gybing; these are the miles from port-to-port or anchorage-to-anchorage.  The circumference of the earth at the equator is 24,901 statute miles.  A nautical mile is roughly 1.1 statute miles.
  • Countries visited:  58 -- 49 on board S/V BeBe and 9 by land and air travel while the boat was berthed in foreign countries
  • Percentage of sailing (not motorsailing): 43.4%
  • Percentage of sailing (not motorsailing) everywhere except the Med: 48.9%  (The Med lowered that percentage quite a lot when consider distances traveled.)
  • Average Yanmar engine hours per 100 NM:  9.2 hours
  • Average generator hours per non-marina day:  1.46 hours (Solar panels added July 2013, which greatly reduced required hours of generator operation.)
  • Liters of diesel consumed per NM by generator and engine:  .32 liter (This includes both sailing and motoring.)
  • Miles traveled per liter of diesel consumed: 3.11 NM
  • Average speed, combination both sailing and motoring: 6.1 knots
One of the most enjoyable aspects of cruising around the world is visiting many different countries and cultures; and not all places are accessible via boat.

We realize that we will not have met the traditional mariner's and some arm-chair sailor's definition of a circumnavigation, but we and S/V BeBe will have physically encircled the globe via ship or airplane.  Call that whatever you like.  For simplicity, we are using the word circumnavigation.  According to Merriam Webster's dictionary, the definition of circumnavigate is:

verb cir·cum·nav·i·gate \-ˈna-və-ˌgāt\. : to travel all the way around (something) in a ship, airplane, etc. 

One can circumnavigate an island.  Or a continent.  Or our planet Earth.

We personally knew 4 sailors who were murdered and 7 other sailors who were captured by Somali pirates in 2011.  These sailors were driven by the "old salt" definition of circumnavigation; to be able to claim their personal achievement of  circumnavigation; and to receive circumnavigation awards from sailing organizations.  We call on all sailing organizations to change their focus from this "old salt" definition and rather focus on safety.

By the way, history books credit Ferdinand Magellan as being the first person to circumnavigate:  
Known forThe first circumnavigation of the Earth, from Europe to East, and to West; for the first expedition from Europe to Asia by the West; and for captaining the first expedition across the Atlantic Ocean to the Strait of Magellan and across the Pacific Ocean

Yet Magellan died in the Philippine Islands, which means he actually sailed only a little more than half-way around the world .  His navigator should be the one credited as being the first person to circumnavigate, yet that honor is credited to Magellan.

There has been lots of conversations on the various online sailing forums as to what constitutes a circumnavigation.  Some purists claim that it does not count if one transits the Panama Canal or the Suez Canal.  That only rounding the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn qualify one as a circumnavigator.

We do not care.  Got that?  We do NOT care.
Use whatever label you want to describe our route around the globe and our methods of traveling that route.  Labels mean nothing to us. .

This adventure of ours has been to see the world and get to know her people, not to sail a specified route in order to qualify for a label.  If that is your goal, go for it; but keep your criticism of our use of the words circumnavigate and circumnavigation in perspective.  We transported BeBe through the Somali pirates and Arab Spring revolutions occurring in the countries bordering the Red Sea in 2011 and we will always believe that this was the correct decision. Sailing through that region at that time would have been too dangerous and foolhardy.  We regret not seeing the Red Sea, but our decision to transport at that time was one of the smartest things we have ever done.

We returned to the Caribbean in January 2016 and we will say that we have circled the world. And that will be exactly what we have done; the majority of the distance by sea and a short distance by airplane.  For simplicity, we might use the word circumnavigation rather than the phrase 'circled the world' and if that bothers anyone then we suggest that person needs to do a bit of introspection to determine why he or she is bothered by anything we say or do as it has no affect on anyone except ourselves.

It is anybody's guess where we go from here!