15 lessons in circumnavigation

Navigate carefully at night

“As it never gets very dark at night in those high southern latitudes, we sailed at night,” Perkins recalls.

“This was very foolish, we discovered, as radar doesn’t always show even huge icebergs if they are in the process of capsizing – the echo gets reflected into outer space and not back to the yacht. One scary incident (picture the Titanic) ended our night adventures.”

Charts aren't always accurate

Beware the charts, Perkins warns. “The charts in Alaska aren’t terribly accurate. We ran aground with Andromeda and the nine metre tide left us totally out of the water on a bank of shale. We rigged kedge anchors far outboard leading to the mast top, to prevent tipping over (it worked) and all aboard went ashore for safety for eight hours before the tide started to return,” he recalls.

Take the children with you

Taking their children out of school was a big decision for the Ryans, but one that paid off, with their three daughters learning a huge amount.

“We took tutors, opting for a married couple on the recommendation of an agency, as we got more bang for our buck. Plus they were able to be a unit unto themselves, which meant they didn’t need to always be with us or the crew,” they say.

But the girls’ best lessons were thanks to the decision to promote the first mate to captain: “She was our first female captain – and the first-ever female skipper of a superyacht – and a fabulous role model for our three girls.”

Don't expect everyone to welcome you

Some of the sharpest memories for the owners of Twizzle are of Papua New Guinea, at once the most frightening port of call and the richest culturally.

“Papua New Guinea can be pretty scary and we were made to leave some of the islands we visited, despite having a knowledgeable guide on board,” they remember. “But we were forewarned about the dangers and it was worth it as we saw some extraordinary sights and met some of the most colourful people in the world.”

Don't forget your unique experiences

“Spotting humpback whales breaking next to the boat in Niue, to catching a mahi mahi twice during a crossing in the Pacific on a $12 fishing rod, and seeing rays jump out of the water when chased are just a few of the unforgettable experiences,” says Koopmans.

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