The Great Southern Route : 2013 - 2014
A SHORT HISTORY OF CIRCUMNAVIGATION 20|GSR large tenders (some of which could be dispatched and recovered while the mother ship was on the move) along with two helicopter decks and an ice- protected bow. He described her as follows: “Senses was a child of Belle France and Simson actually. It’s got the luxury of a yacht, more so than Belle France, huge windows, but it has the kind of utility of Simson. You can also launch the Nelson while under way. When you launch with a crane it’s OK for people who use a boat normally but I like to be able to launch and retrieve while under way so I can get out of the big boat, which is very boring for me, and navigate with the smaller one! That was the whole idea of Senses and a big improvement over Simson. It was while I was cruising with Simson that I started thinking about which direction I would like to go. You take a rib from one, and from the other and you create it. That’s why, in the beginning, nobody really understood Senses and I think it was rather new and unconventional to have a yacht, with the finish of a yacht, that was also a discovery machine, you know.” But while you may need the ingenuity and capital of a Jack Setton or a Peter Lewis to establish expedition yachting as we know it today, you don’t have to find the US$500,000 per month that it took to run Lone Ranger in order to enjoy the Indian and Pacific Oceans on more modest vessels. A sailing yacht has some advantages inasmuch as it has a more flexible range of operation and is arguably less likely to attract unwelcome attention in remote destinations although it may be equally prone to piracy. A motor yacht may enjoy the benefits of shallower draft and might be able to field larger, self- sufficient tenders that can scout likely anchorages before the mother ship commits itself. Smaller vessels of either kind benefit from a wider choice of moorings or marina berths and are probably easier to haul and service in the event of a problem. But if you want the same sort of reception that the bigger boats enjoy then you will have to pay for an agent to help you with everything from Customs clearance to cruising permits, the arrival and departure of owners, guests and crew, and the procurement of necessities ranging from provisions and spares to cruising guides and courtesy flags and an introduction to the agent at the next planned stop. Go to Australia, or New Zealand, for example, and you might get by on your own, depending perhaps upon whether your first language is English but bear in mind that the reason you made all that money and bought the boat in the first place was to have some fun and enjoy the South Sea Islands on your way around the world. Furthermore, a good agent should be able to steer you through the worst of the time-consuming bureaucracy you will sometimes encounter in smaller places while being a reliable source of information about where to relax and take in the best of everything your host country has to offer. Life can be tiresome at times but there are rewards as well. There is little to match the feeling you get after a bracing day’s sail when you’re sitting in a comfortable chair under a whispering palm listening to the waves lap on the shore of a warm Pacific island with a cool pre-dinner drink in your hand. You watch the sun set slowly over the sea, enjoy the colours of the evening sky, and admire the lines of the most beautiful yacht in the anchorage, which happens to be your own! To quote Oscar Hammerstein again: “If you try, you’ll find me Where the sky meets the sea. ‘Here am I, your special island Come to me, Come to me.’” A SHORT HISTORY OF CIRCUMNAVIGATION Above and left: The expedition yacht Senses at anchor.
2010 - 2011