60,000 Miles At 7 Knots = 8572 Hours

During the 15 years that John and I have been voyaging together, most of our passagemaking has been done double-handed, which, as any of you who have sailed double-handed know, means passing each other in the cockpit at watch changes on the ecstatic journey towards the sea berth or the less-than-ecstatic journey towards the cockpit! In other words, there’s not a lot of time spent discussing the meaning of life.

Well, this spring we changed all that! We took 5 weeks to get from Charleston to Nova Scotia and we only did 3 overnights during that 5 weeks. We daysailed (that means we were actually in the cockpit at the same time!), and we even daysailed in smooth water (Chesapeake Bay), which I could really get used to!

And we talked a lot about sailing and life: where we’ve been and where we want to go; how we’ve traveled and how and if we want to keep traveling; where and how we’ve lived and where and how we want to live; how we’ve grown and changed and how we want to grow and change…anyway, you get the idea. And, at some point during this discussion, we roughly figured out how many offshore miles we’ve sailed.

Overall, John has sailed around 120,000 miles and, of that, we’ve sailed about 60,000 miles together. At 7 knots, that means I’ve been underway for 8572 hours; which means approximately 4000 hours in the cockpit looking at the water go by (or looking at stars, birds, dolphins and whales). That’s not quite the 10,000 hours of mastery, but it’s getting there! And, historically, it’s right about now, in the accumulation of experience in a specific area, that I get itchy feet and start looking to make a change.

Our discussions about where to go from here have been challenging, exciting, and interesting! The only thing we’re committed to right now is moving slowly this summer. After that, well, we’ll keep you informed!

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Meet the Author


Phyllis has sailed over 40,000 offshore miles with John on their McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, most of it in the high latitudes, and has crossed the Atlantic three times. As a woman who came to sailing as an adult, she brings a fresh perspective to cruising, which has helped her communicate what they do in an approachable way, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

7 comments… add one
  • Dick Stevenson Jun 3, 2012, 2:50 am

    Phyllis, Enjoy! Ginger and I comment that the longer we live aboard, the slower we choose to go. Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy, Oban, Scotland

    • Phyllis Jun 5, 2012, 7:28 am

      Hi, Dick; Yes, the Slow Movement does have a lot going for it, doesn’t it! Our new wish for our friends will be that we hope they have a slow summer!

  • richard s. Jun 3, 2012, 3:08 pm

    interesting post…i count john as a remarkably fortunate fellow not only to have you and your commitment to him but also to have such expansive knowledge, experience, and ability with personal-scale passage making…i note this is the second post in the last few weeks related to possibly needing to ease off at least a little [earlier one was about the inevitable cost(s) of laziness esp where one’s boat is concerned]…i keep waiting to see similar posts from lin and larry pardey…have you ever crossed paths with them ? their web site is paracay.com if you would like to catch it some time…in logging my own cruising time i count all hours on the boat whether running or not as even when not running (on the hook or slipped) there are vessel-related needs that are always at least lurking if not already crying out…so my logged hours add up to 15,000 on boats i have owned and skippered…then there’s probably another 3,000 or so as crew on other boats…there is very little i can think of for which i would trade even one of these hours, and i am thankful i have them all logged with lots of details…richard in tampa bay (m/v cavu’s skipper, formerly s/v sidra’s skipper)

  • Phyllis Jun 5, 2012, 7:34 am

    That’s a very good point, Richard. As long as the boat is in the water, vigilance is required in terms of the weather and in terms of maintenance. If we take that into account along with the big refit we did, we really haven’t taken much more than a few months break from the boat a few times during the 15 years we’ve been together. So maybe all John and I are feeling is that it’s time to do other things for a while. Time will tell!

  • Dave Jun 5, 2012, 12:12 pm

    Through this wonderful website you and John provide perspective for your readers on a wide variety of topics. Perhaps it is time for your readers to return the favor. During the time you spent 4000 hours doing seven knots, most folks spent at least 8000 hours at zero knots….at work. Remember, you are an inspiration for a lot of folks sitting in cubicles. No pressure 🙂 !!!

  • RDE Jun 5, 2012, 2:17 pm

    Beware of the Dark Side. With a condomaran you can take your house with you!

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