Why wait? Sailing Around the World with a Young family
Philip (Fil) and Eleanor (El) are doing what most people can only dream of…leaving their 9-5 jobs, selling up the family home and cruising around the world with their young son, Aiden.
It’s been a life long dream for Fil and one that he was determined to achieve in his early 40’s. They pick up their brand new Hanse 455 from Slovenia in May and will embark on an epic 12 month world trip.
In this video the family talk about the five reasons they chose the Hanse 455 – Safety, Build Quality, Performance, Liveability and Price. Also what made them choose Team Windcraft.
“I’ve achieved what I want out of corporate life and I want to push other aspects and see how I can challenge myself” – Fil
This adventurous young family will be documenting their trip with a blog and regular videos. They already have a massive instagram following too. But we wanted to delve a bit deeper and find out more about the “dream” and what inspired them to do it now and “seize the day”…
Q. Tell us about the moment you knew you had to do this?
Fil – We were sailing in Croatia, just south of Split is a little piece of beach called Zlatni and we pulled up for a lunchtime stop between two yachts. A tight spot, we dropped anchor and we heard laughter coming from the boat next to us . There were these guys on a very big yacht and they were laughing.
All I thought was “isn’t that a great life?” They were probably in their late 50’s and the next thing I thought was, I don’t need to wait till I’m 50 to do this.
El – Fil’s grandfather spent many years building a boat and never realised his dream to travel the world. Both our Dads died in their 40’s and both of us have a “seize the day” attitude. So we don’t want to wait until we retire to do this kind of thing.
Fil – We are really trying to find out what makes us happy. We’ve never believed that money makes us happy. What brings us happiness is pushing ourselves. It’s learning new things. Be that a new language or how to work in different cultures. It’s about pushing ourselves physically too. We love sports like skiing, climbing and mountain biking…that’s what brings us happiness and fulfilment.
A Young Family
Q. You have an 8 year old son..what are your hopes for him?
Fil – Some people think they can’t do this with young kids.
We have friends that say they can’t travel because of kids. Aiden was sailing with us in Sardinia at 8 months old. We sailed the Whitsundays when he was 3 years old. We’ve always fitted in what we wanted to do with Aiden’s requirements.
With a child, you see things that you don’t see yourself. Kids highlight all the things that you see as normal but it’s actually quite special. All the little things that excite him!
El – We want to tie in the education with where we are.
For example, the culture and languages in the Pacific islands. I’d like him to experience difference. Different places, different cultures, different languages.
I think it’s an important time. Fil and I work full-time and Aiden spends a lot of time at school and after school care.
I see this as an opportunity for quality time for us as family. It seems simple but for me it’s quite a big thing.
Choosing the Right Yacht
Q. So how did you go about choosing a Hanse?
Fil – For us, safety was paramount. And the quality build, because we needed a yacht that can cross oceans. It didn’t have to be blue water but one that we could equip to blue water standards. So we needed something that was safe and high quality.
Of course it had to be value and then performance. And ease of sail. And considering that the majority of the time we are going to be single-handed sailing, it had to be one that was conducive to that. So that narrowed down the boats to a select few.
Lifestyle was another feature we were looking for, so the modern design also was fundamentally important to us…for example, a drop down transom, a nice open deck with lines underneath.
Also, we wanted the space…having an open clean space was important. We are going to be living on the yacht for 16 months so we need to be able to use the space effectively. Eventually it came down to two yachts or two yards.
In terms of performance styling. We looked at ARC’s cruising results and the boats that really shone through were the Hanses. Regardless of which cruising division…what also came out was that the Hanses were always in the top 25%. Just about always…be it the 575, be it the 545, the 445…so we knew it had performance.
Also, the reviews were glowing! We looked at the magazine reviews, we looked at the videos to see what the motion was like, through inclement conditions and they were seen as very solid. They could have all sails up, be fully reefed and still slide through the water. So in that perspective, we were confident in the Hanse.
Choosing the Right Size
Fil -It came down to size then. Did we want a 45 foot or a 50 foot? And so Mary organised for us to do a test sail on the Hanse 505 and the Hanse 455. And even though my initial inclination was the 505, (that’s what I had in my mind, the last 7 or 8 years)…really with the new design and the drop down transom, you’re really getting the size of a 50 foot boat within a 45 foot boat!
We’ve been living on 45 and 47 foot yachts… and the 45 had the same space, if not more and at the same time easier to handle than a 50 foot!
So we had the size right, we had the storage capacity right and the handling of a yacht…it’s easier to handle a 45 than a 50. So that’s why we chose the 45 foot.
Choosing the Right Dealer?
Q. Why did you choose Windcraft?
Fil– For several reasons we knew that the dealer was going to be important. We are going to be sailing around the world, we need someone who can support us, provide service and advice all around the world.
We started the conversation with Windcraft. We talked about equipment, talked to the service team, the commissioning team. And you really feel that you have an experienced large team backing you. And a team that has a experience in commissioning boats in Europe and supporting their skippers and boats, all the way through to Australia.
Other aspects that came through in discussions with Mary and Peter was around the close relationship between Hanse and Windcraft. That to us was also important. We knew that any time we needed support the two would work closely to resolve any challenge that we had. We are crossing blue water oceans and we know that we will have things come through that we need to work through as a team.
We’ve got the boat equipped to avoid the majority of these issues. We are not going to be racing the ARC. We have to bring the boat to Australia but if anything does come through, they are there to support us. That was critical in terms of placing the order with Team Windcraft.
There’s a mutual respect between Windcraft and us and a mutual respect between Windcraft and Hanse. You need someone who understands what you are going through and at the same time can bring Hanse to deliver what you need wherever you are in the world.
Fil – I work for the largest robotics company in Australia. So I appreciate technology..but I also know that even the best robotics need to have back ups. We’ll be in a harsh environment, a marine environment. You need to keep on top of things but if something does fall down, you need to have something to back it up.
That’s exactly how we have fitted the 455. So we are confident that not just for blue water crossing we’ve got the right systems in place. So we’ve got things like solar, satellite communication, weather forecasting…everything that we need at hand to provide for a safe voyage. We are not going to be relying on the equipment but it’s there.
Sailing Training & Sharing the Helm
Fil – We’ve done everything we can to prepare. I’ve done my Yachtmasters course, I’ve done my sea survival. I’m about to do first aid. El’s about to do the diesel maintenance course. We are as prepared as you can be. We’ve got the right boat, we’ve got the right equipment. El will also be taking the helm and be the skipper. We will be there to back each other up.
El – We both want to be in a position where either of us can solely look after the boat and everything. Just in case the other one falls ill or something happens. The end goal is either one of us will be able to take on anything that needs to happen on Tranquilo.
The Handover & Trip Back
Fil – We’ll be sailing for 20,000 nautical miles from Europe to Australia.
After picking up the yacht in Europe we’ll spend five months in the Mediterranean. Then on to the Canary Islands. Cross the Atlantic as part of the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC). Then explore the Caribbean. Cross the Panama Canal, enter the Pacific Ocean and join the Coconut Milk run, island hopping our way to the Galapagos, French Polynesia, Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia, and finally Australia.
El – It’s a once in a lifetime trip. We’re not going to rush it – that would go against the whole concept of “Tranquilo”, which means “chill out” in Portuguese (something we picked up in previous adventures in Brazil). We could do the whole trip in 6 months but instead we’re planning to take just over a year, so that we can take our time sailing and enjoy some land based side trips too.
The European Handover
Fil – We are flying out to Venice and we will do 5 days of test sailing and familiarisation. Tom, Windcraft’s Europe based service manager is going to spend 5 days on the boat with us.
We are going to test everything out from the asymmetric through to the electric winches to the alternator. There’s a lot of equipment being installed during commissioning at Portoroz – Windcraft are project managing this for us. So I want to make sure that I understand it as well. I’ve never used a chart plotter as sophisticated as the 455 B & G!
We want to make sure that we have a full understanding of all the systems we’ve put in to make sure it’s a blue water boat…And also how to maintain them.
That was a big reason for going with Windcraft because of all the support through the whole handover process in Europe.
El – I’m prone to seasickness! Not too bad and not always .
I’m also a bit anxious about the big crossings but I know this boat can withstand a lot. And I’m heartened by a 16 year old girl, Jessica Watson doing it by herself!
Fil – We’ve got the right boat, we’ve got the right equipment. But I still have trepidation around it in terms of passage planning.
Will I remember everything? What if I get caught out? Have a made the right call, people are relying on me!
But then I look back and see people who did this trip without all the communications. Robert Knox-Johnson, one of my heroes did this on a self-built boat and managed to do wonderful things!
We are looking forward to the adventure of a lifetime!
“No house, no mortgage and no car! It’s time for meditation, self-improvement, self actualisation – time to find and be who I am” – El
We wish Fil, El and Aiden fair winds on their travels. You can follow them on Instagram, Facebook and You Tube. Their fabulous blog is a great read – full of great information if you are thinking of doing the same!
They’ll be updating it regularly and we are looking forward to hearing all about their adventures.