NEWS RELEASE: For immediate release
Cathy Simon: firstname.lastname@example.org 509-954-0315
Annapolis Based Sailors Circumnavigate the Globe
5/19/2015 Rodney Bay, St.
Lucia, West Indies - Charlie Simon, and his wife, Cathy, have
completed their world circumnavigation with the World Cruising Club's World ARC
2014-15 Rally starting and ending in St. Lucia in the Caribbean. They
sailed their Taswell 58 sailboat,
"Celebrate", leaving Rodney Bay, St. Lucia on January 10, 2014 and
returning April 11, 2015 having travelled 26,000 miles. Along the way,
they transited the Panama Canal, stopped at many islands across the South
Pacific, passed through some rough weather in the Indian Ocean, to South
Africa, and had benign conditions crossing the South Atlantic to Brazil then
back to the Caribbean. Their route visited 16 countries while avoiding
areas of political unrest and piracy and staying in areas of the best predicted
Captain Charlie Simon whose 60th birthday kicked off the event said, "You need to be fully prepared for a trip like this one. After purchasing Celebrate in 2012, we sailed her from Ft. Lauderdale to Nova Scotia and back just to get a feel for the boat and decide on equipment and rigging improvements prior to the circumnavigation." The Simons have now accumulated 100,000 sea miles between them and had accumulated over 50,000 sea miles prior to embarking on the adventure which included two trips to Alaska.
"Handling a boat of this size is no problem," said 5'2" Cathy Simon (66). "We have electric winches for most of the sail-handling and the autopilot does most of the steering. You do have to be in pretty good physical condition for this trip, though. Overnight watch-keeping (to sail the boat 24 hours a day) can be fatiguing and the constant motion of the boat is tiring, particularly in rough weather."
Charlie and Cathy sailed about half the trip on their own and were joined by an additional crew-member for some of the longer legs. "With just two on board, if one person gets sick or injured, even something minor, it would put a tremendous strain on the other," said Captain Charlie. This happened only once on the trip when Cathy was laid low for three days by food poisoning.
"Celebrate" is a Taswell 58 AS designed by noted British naval architect Bill Dixon and built by the highly-regarded Ta'shing yard in Taiwan in 2003. 62 feet long overall, she weighs 33 tons and provides a stable, comfortable ride in rough seas. Designed to accommodate six people, the boat is spacious for a sailing couple and has ample room for the spares and safety equipment needed for a circumnavigation. She is sloop-rigged and sails at 8-9 knots in a good wind. When the wind dies, her 160hp Yanmar diesel engine will keep her going at 7 knots with a fuel range of 1,400 miles.
Charlie and Cathy Simon
Charlie has an Electrical Engineering degree from the University of California, a Masters in Computer Science from Washington State University and a USCG Captain's License. Professionally, he has worked on numerous major software projects including Microsoft's MSNBC.COM. Cathy Simon is a retired banking executive with Wells Fargo and Barclay's Bank in San Francisco. She has a BA degree from Washington State University.
The Simons have been married for 36 years and have a 31-year-old son who joined them on one leg of the trip. Since retirement, they have been active philanthropists supporting causes in their local area as well as international support and youth sailing organizations. Having visited Vanuatu on their circumnavigation, they were quick to send aid to the victims of Cyclone Pam which struck Vanuatu in March, 2015.
World ARC 2014-2015
"The Rally provides important support for the circumnavigator," Captain Charlie said. "Travelling with a fleet provides an important safety net. Even though other boats are usually out of sight over the horizon, the shortwave radio nets and satellite phones can bring aid from another participant. In addition there are wonderful social events and camaraderie there are land tours and the World ARC helps with entry/exit formalities in each country (which can be extensive)."
In total, 43 boats from 13 nations and over 300 people from 20 nations took part in World ARC 2014-2015 which is now an annual event. The route is classic tradewinds sailing beginning with a downwind romp from St. Lucia to Panama in winds to 25 kts. After transiting the Panama Canal the Simons visited the Galapagos and then the South Pacific Islands of Hiva Oa, Nuku Hiva, Tahiti, Bora Bora, Niue, Fiji, Vanuatu and on to Australia for a few weeks of maintenance and repairs. Next, they sailed across the southern Indian Ocean stopping at the islands of Bali, Cocos (Keeling), Mauritius, and Reunion before landing in Richard's Bay, South Africa. Then on around to Cape Town where Celebrate stayed for six weeks to celebrate Christmas and New Year's. Crossing the South Atlantic was mostly benign bringing the Simon's diesel engine into play on the way to Salvador, Brazil with one stop at St. Helena, an island nation currently accessible only by boat and famous as the last exile of Napoleon. Finally, the long leg back to the Caribbean island of Grenada returning to St. Lucia.
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The Simon's sailboat, "Celebrate", at anchor in Fiji.
The Simons on Safari in South Africa.
Charlie Simon at the Mt. Yasur volcano in Vanuatu.
The Simon's world route as captured by their satellite tracking System