Quickstart Circumnavigation Guide
by Captain Charlie & Cathy Simon
I’ve never circumnavigated, so asking me to review a book on that topic is a bit humbling, as I hold people who have accomplished that goal in such high esteem.
That’s really the point, however, of the Simon’s Quickstart Circumnavigation Guide: It’s something of a how-to for those of us who haven’t crossed our own wakes but would someday like to.
To that end, this is an enthusiastic upbeat book that accomplishes the goal of presenting a circumnavigation as a doable task for the average sailor who has the boat and the desire to do it (as they say, the hardest part is to just go).
The methodology of the guide is simple: You accompany the Simons as they sail from country to country, island to island, port to port aboard their Taswell 58, Celebrate. They point out the conditions you are likely to encounter, provide charts and inside info on approaches and give you the necessary insight on dealing with customs, immigration and local cultural issues.
It truly brings the enormity of going around the world in a small vessel down to manageable “chunks” — i.e. bite-sized legs that seem to reduce the distance between ports and simplify the logistical issues.
Moreover, there are a number of very usable summaries — port services, passage preparation, departure timing — at the end of the book. The passage preparation summary is especially useful in its concise handling of weather, navigation, food stores, wind directions, etc.
Anyone researching a circumnavigation will recognize that the Simons moved quickly in their voyage, and that the number of ports visited is very small compared to what is available.
There isn’t much discussion on the specific conditions or events they encountered during their crossings, something a would-be circumnavigator might find informative if they are really using this as a guide to “get going.” The Simons remain cheerful and positive about almost all the aspects of every passage and port, and their pictures reflect this. This may be, in part, because the Simons are lucky enough to be on a larger boat with the resources to have and maintain a variety of comfort-giving equipment. Sailors contemplating the trip in smaller boats might want to adjust accordingly.
Nonetheless, the book presents circumnavigating in an encouraging, almost matter-of-fact manner, where all the life-enriching experiences far outweigh the negative ones.