Dan Stroud completes circumnavigation (continued)

Dan Stroud completes circumnavigation (continued)

Stopped by the Covid-19 pandemic in the Caribbean, Dan was just two more passages from returning home. Setting sail from Bequia, he stopped briefly in Horta before continuing to the UK.

By - 02/06/2020

Horta was a much-needed stop for those trying to cross the Atlantic. While they didn’t allow sailors to come to shore, they did find a way to accommodate those that needed a safe place to stop and provision. Dan took advantage of Horta’s kindness in a world otherwise shut down to sailors from every country.

Dan was able to anchor for a few days and refuel. He was not allowed to go ashore to provision. He sat at anchor and waited for three storm systems to pass. Finally, the weather conditions were right and Dan was able to take the last leg of his journey, a ten-day passage, and return home after 2 years and 9 months at sea.

As his home country finally made its appearance on the horizon, Dan noted the differences between when he left the country over two years ago, and how he felt after his circumnavigation. 38,500 miles, five continents and three oceans later, “I’m still learning to sail the boat. I know the seas well now and at any given point I can look around and know what’s going on around me.”

Grateful for the few repairs he had to make due to the simplicity of his boat, there were a few things he might have done differently. The longer the voyage progressed, the more he realized why people had fridges. When his strength was suffering from sitting for weeks on a passage, a windlass would have been nice to pull up anchor. A more beefed up electrical system would have been great for more power. "And tin openers – they always rust. Pack a lot of them."

One piece of equipment he felt he should have had, was a backup for the Iridium Go. If his shore contact didn’t hear from him for 48 hours, he would have called for a rescue. A Garmin InReach would have served as a backup if he was not able to communicate with the Iridium.

Aisling and skipper Dan made landfall back in England on May 24th. He was eagerly greeted by his support team, without whom this journey would not have been possible. While it doesn’t take a village to circumnavigate, it does take a dedicated team of people to help navigate safely.

Dan had an adjustment to make, being back home again. There will be a period of realigning his physical and emotional state after concluding such an arduous and life-changing journey. When asked if Dan is done sailing, he said that he plans to carry on. He still has the sailing bug and there is still more to learn about sailing. He will sail more locally, to Norway, Iceland, Greenland, and see those pristine areas that are a bit closer to home.

As far as Dan’s advice to those who dream about making a solo-circumnavigation, he has the following suggestions. “Go and do it. Make sure you have a seaworthy boat. Learn as you go.”

“One of the big parts I learned was that you didn’t have to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds. It is possible to sail on a budget and be comfortable. Many people don’t see a voyage like this as attainable if you aren’t wealthy. You don’t need to be wealthy,” he pointed out. “I met people doing the same thing in smaller boats than I was sailing. There were lots of guys out there like me.”

Humble in attitude and in what he accomplished, Dan Stroud is a model for not only solo sailors but for sailors in general. He learned not just by reading books but by doing. He tested his merit and learned to navigate by the stars and the sea states instead of relying on modern-day electronics. He sailed with the basics proving that the fewer things you have, the fewer things break. In finding himself, he gained a new perspective on the world and discovered a new community of kindred spirits. He accomplished his goal of solo circumnavigating the globe by sailboat, a feat less than 250 humans have accomplished.

Living the words of Alain Gerbualt, “I wanted freedom, open air, adventure. I found it on the sea.”

Return to part 1. 

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