A ROUND-THE-WORLD IN 1,546 DAYS
A quest for adventure, a desire to visit the most beautiful remote places on the planet by sea, to discover new cultures… A list of achievements and a unique experience shared by David and Amy, two young Americans who one day decided to live their ultimate dream: to explore the world on a catamaran.
Onboard their Fountaine Pajot Hélia 44 “Starry Horizons”, the couple criss-crossed the seas and oceans for no less than 546 days, covering more than 34,140 nautical miles and 27 countries from the port of Antigua in the Caribbean, forming a loop around the equador.
PRESENTATION OF THE CREW
We are David and Amy Alton, two thirty-something-year-old Americans. When we met, Amy was an engineer and David was in the oil and gas industry in finance. While Amy had grown up around boats all her life, David had only been sailing once! Soon after we met, Amy took over the family business in the maritime industry. Eventually, we both got our USCG 100 Ton Master’s licenses and David came to work for Amy driving her boats. This is why we call her the Admiral!
PREPARATION FOR THE CIRCUMNAVIGATION
Since we were both licensed captains and had been day sailing around Galveston Bay on our previous 30 feet catamaran, we had an advantage over cruisers who are starting from scratch. We did want to get more experience on bigger boats, so we chartered down in the Caribbean.
Of course, we read a lot of books, blogs, and magazines. There were hardly any sailing YouTube channels out at the time, so that wasn’t a big thing for us.
A CRUISE OF MORE THAN 34,140 NAUTICAL MILES
We picked up our boat from the factory in La Rochelle in October of 2014. From there, we did a self-delivery, bringing the boat to Florida in three steps to do some outfitting to kit her out for a long-term cruising boat.
From Florida, we sailed the Bahamas, then up to Nova Scotia and Maine before heading down to the Caribbean. Three months later, we passed through the Panama Canal and spent two seasons in the South Pacific.
After seven months in Australia, we sailed up through Southeast Asia, then across the Indian Ocean, exploring lots of remote islands. In December of 2019, we passed the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, and in March of 2020, we docked in Antigua, crossing our wake and completing our world circumnavigation.
FAVORITE SAILING AREAS
The South Pacific is easily our favorite sailing ground. The islands are remote and incredibly beautiful, and the people are amazingly friendly. French Polynesia is a dream destination, with rugged islands in the Marquesas, or idyllic atolls in the Tuamotus. Bora Bora exceeded expectations with crystal clear water and manta rays.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT CATAMARAN FOR A CIRCUMNAVIGATION
When we were boat shopping, we had a list of requirements that we wanted. We did primarily look at the biggest production yards because we wanted to keep a strong resale value and yards like Fountaine Pajot have a good reputation – they’ve been building great boats for so long.
We went to the Annapolis Boat Show with a few models in mind, and when we got on the Helia is was an easy decision. The layout of the boat is amazing, and while she’s got plenty of space, she is definitely on the faster side for cruising boats.
All around the world we have meet Fountaine Pajots of all ages and sizes. Starry Horizons has held up very well in the nearly six years we have owned her, so we’ve been very pleased with our purchase.
CIRCUMNAVIGATE ON A CATAMARAN
On our entire circumnavigation, we spent less than 13% of our nights at sea. This means that 87% of the time we were stationary, at anchor or in a marina, taking advantage of the space our catamaran offered us.
Moreover, when we were sailing, we were mainly sailing downwind. Although we didn’t have much experience with monohulls, many friends complained about the performance of their boat downwind. Starry Horizons is super comfortable downwind.
It is also extremely performant and very safe, we always had confidence in our boat, even when the sea was rough, in squalls or tropical storms.
Right now, Starry Horizons is taking a well-deserved rest on the hard for hurricane season. We are back in Texas visiting our families.
We will launch again sometime within the next twelve months and cruise close to home; the Bahamas, Chesapeake Bay, or other nearby places. After that, we don’t have any plans!
David and Amy regularly share tips and surprising anecdotes on their blog to accompany you in your navigations, the preparation for long cruises or simply to share their most beautiful sailing experiences and anchorages.
To find out more about their round the world trip, click here
STARRY HORIZONS’ CIRCUMNAVIGATION IN A NUTSHELL