Six years on, we remember the most dangerous sailing conditions we’ve encountered…

The Indian Ocean 2013

As we begin a slow passage towards the beginning of our planned Pacific Ocean crossing from Japan to Alaska, we reflect on the most dangerous conditions we have ever encountered. 

After nearly three years in India, we headed to Maldives in 2013, with the intention of undertaking a three month shakedown before heading south to Chagos and then west to South Africa via Madagascar. It’s one of the recognised routes for a westabout circumnavigation. It’s also known as ‘The Milk Run’ and we were looking forward to it.

We had up to date charts for the whole area and courtesy flags for all the exciting countries we planned to visit. But the planet had other ideas. A fierce gale bowled storms at us for four days and shot us off in another direction. It took all our skill, stamina and luck to limp back to safety. You can read about those four days from hell in the piece we posted at the time.

Click the image to read about our worst 4 days of sailing

We considered running back to India. But that would mean no chance to fix the problems with SY Esper caused by the four-day endurance test. There is nowhere suitable to haul and work on your sailboat in India.

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We had no choice, we would have to sail the 1,650nm east to Thailand and Malaysia. That’s where the winds and the ocean wanted to take us, and with SY Esper now too damaged to tackle head-on storm conditions, we couldn’t risk sailing west. We patched up the boat and set off in good winds…

But once again, the planet hurled a spanner in the works and we found ourselves hand-steering the rest of the passage through storms, lightning and big waves.

Click here or on the image below for the full story of that crossing and a poignant reminder of just how dangerous blue-water sailing can be at times. It’s a sobering read as we plan for the biggest crossing of our lives across the Pacific.


Thank you for keeping us motivated to tell our story!

Please share your thoughts and experiences below on sailing across oceans.

Peace and fair winds!
Liz, Jamie and Millie xxx


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