Please select your home edition
Cyclops Marine 2020 - LEADERBOARD

Solo non-stop unassisted westward circumnavigation attempt

by Philippe Jamotte 9 Sep 06:50 UTC
Philippe aboard Changabang © Jackie Philpott

Solo sailor and recipient of an OCC Challenge Grant, Philippe Jamotte, is prepared to depart for the adventure of a lifetime. #OCCAdventureSailing.

Fairly soon after I learned to sail in 2013, I found I truly enjoyed sailing alone. Reading about single-handed sailing led me to books of grand adventures, of ocean passages, of circumnavigations. All that reading had me dreaming. Fast forward to 2020 and I'm preparing to set off from San Francisco for a solo non-stop unassisted westward circumnavigation attempt.

Sometime in 2018, I started researching the matter in more detail, figuring out what course to take, what boat to acquire, when to leave. I came across Guo Chan's record, whose weather router was Christian Dumard. I spoke with Christian about my plans, and he casually told me that living in the Bay of San Francisco, I should simply go West, and maybe set a new record. I had never thought about it but found the idea very exciting!

During late 2018 and most of 2019, I perused Yachtworld and other yacht brokers' web sites in the hope of finding a solid, affordable boat. I ultimately settled on a Class40. In my mind, they have intrinsic security features, which appealed to me. In short, I decided to forfeit comfort for safety, and maybe speed. In August 2019 I saw one in France which was somehow in my budget: Changabang, a first-generation Class40. Changbang is now in the yard at Berkeley Marine Center, getting a new coat of bottom paint and more. Come October 2020 I should be heading out under the Golden Gate Bridge, with a hopeful return 6-8 months later.

With the help of meteorologist Chris Tibbs I have devised a course and timeline. This voyage will take me south across the Equator, then west across the Pacific and through Torres Strait, north of Australia. I'll then carry on through the Indian Ocean, only to dip south and 'round Cape Agulhas. Next will be a rounding of the St Helena High in the South Atlantic, followed by another dip to the south, to the much-revered Cape Horn. Once Cape Horn is behind me, it'll be a long sail back home, to family and friends, and most likely a well-deserved refit for Changabang.

This isn't about setting a record anymore as the indomitable William Hatfield did set a record for this course in the under 40 feet monohull division. I look forward to following in his wake although I'm not anywhere near his level of experience and skills. Luck is always a matter of grand importance in ocean crossings, in my case even more so.

You can follow my project at, where a blog and tracker are updated regularly. If you feel so inclined, please consider making a donation there as well (it'll re-direct you to

I'm very thankful to the Ocean Cruising Club for supporting my project through their grant program. This is such a fantastic organization, and I've already reached out to several members to discuss certain passages.

Fair winds and following seas.

This article has been provided by the courtesy of Ocean Cruising Club.

Related Articles

Spain creates exclusion zone off Galicia
Exclusion zone off Spain Notice to Mariners Sailing the Cantabrian Coast of Spain - Unofficial: Yachts are advised to avoid an area of the Northwest coast of Spain where orcas have been interacting with transiting yachts. Posted on 26 Sep
Glenn Wakefield rescued after massive stroke
The most horrific medical experience that could happen to a solo sailor OCC Endurance Award winner Glenn Wakefield sailed from Victoria BC to attempt a solo nonstop circumnavigation. About 500 miles out, he suffered a stroke, but managed to send a distress signal. Posted on 23 Sep
NZL refuses cyclone refuge for yachts
The OCC has received a formal rejection by New Zealand for yachts in the South Pacific... Yesterday, the Ocean Cruising Club received a formal rejection by New Zealand for yachts in the South Pacific cyclone zone seeking refuge. Posted on 22 Sep
RoRC report on roving in the Yorkshire Dales
Sailing has not been on the agenda The first report from a new RoRC will be rather scant as, for reasons beyond meteorological, sailing has not been on the agenda. Posted on 17 Sep
RoRC report from Vava'u, Kingdom of Tonga
Our hearts go out to all OCC sailors who had to find their way to safe harbours Having left Glide in early December 2019 in The Boatyard in Vava'u, Tonga for cyclone season, we flew to Hong Kong to visit our son, daughter-in-law and then 8-month old grandson. Posted on 16 Sep
RoRC report from Malaysia
What a difference a day makes It took a lot of organising, at least compared to a normal week's cruising, but after moving the boat into Royal Langkawi Marina, buying return ferry tickets to Penang, booking a hotel for the night and making an appointment at the embassy. Posted on 15 Sep
RoRC report from Roatan
Once again we are back on Suzie Too for another season in the Western Caribbean Roving Rear Commodores Susanne and David Chappelle give an account of the pre- and post-lockdown periods in the Western Caribbean where they spent 84 days boat bound in Roatan. Posted on 14 Sep
RoRC report from the Baltic
COVID-19 has caused the same tumult in the Baltic as in the rest of the world Well...things have dramatically changed since my last report in January and no more cruising in the Baltic for me. Posted on 13 Sep
NOAA acting to protect right whales
Avoid or Slow Down to 10 knots or less when entering a Seasonal Management Area Daria Blackwell, Vice Commodore of the Ocean Cruising Club and boating journalist, had the opportunity to meet with three scientists from NOAA who are pivotal in an effort to save North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) from extinction. Posted on 11 Sep
Second vessel turned away from Northwest Passage
The vessel was denied entry to Canadian waters by Canadian officials Originally reported by the Arctic Sounder on the 17th of August, the vessel was denied entry to Canadian waters by Canadian officials. Posted on 19 Aug
Grapefruit Graphics 2019 - FooterNorth Sails 2019 - NSVictoryList - FooterGJW Direct - Yacht 2019 - Footer