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Around The World On "Banana".

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It's the 1st of January 2010. The starting date of our round the world trip had been in our diaries for 4 years. We were ready, but there was no boat!
We had always assumed that we would sail a 50 foot monohull, ideally with a fin keel. However, under pressure from our sailing friends, and not wanting to look stupid, we decided to charter a catamaran for a family holiday with our four children. It was a revelation, and we had to amend the list of boats that we wanted to test. For each vacation, we hired a different catamaran from our list, and after two and a half years had crossed them all off. It was only in mid 2008 that we discovered a St Francis 50. I should say "rediscovered" as we had crossed it off our list a year earlier because the galley was too small, and the layout and decoration didn't suit our tastes. This one was a completely different boat. The skipper explained that the St Francis are semi-customized, and apart of course from the hull moldings are all different.
Two days later we were in the shipyard ordering our boat and drawing up the first draft of the plans.

For a year we spent two days out of every three weeks at the shipyard. The team were competent and welcoming, and they enjoyed innovating or finding new ways to do things. To test out the plans, they produced cardboard fittings. For us on "Banana" they came up with the biggest galley possible with a built in range. With the help of Duncan, the shipyard owner, we nailed down the technical side of things based upon our wishes and our plans (see inset).
Over time, the shipyard managed to integrate our requests into the build, and on the 28th August 2009 it was time to take to the water.
After a few months of testing it was time for the great family departure on the 2nd of January. (the 1st was a Friday and you can't leave on a Friday!) .

Banana : cruising around the world

Banana is a St Francis 50. Currently in Thailand, it will complete its world tour when it arrives back in South Africa at the end of the year...

The Adventure Starts For Real

The first stage of our voyage took us as far as St Helena, where we "abandoned" our two eldest. One took a cargo ship back to the Cape to finish his schooling, whilst the other was going to live in Longwood and work for the Napoleon Foundation for 5 months before heading back to university in Montreal. Our journey carried on to the Ascension Islands, Brazil, Guyana, and all the West Indian islands from Trinidad to Puerto Rico, where we saw out 2010.
Having experienced a hurricane in 2010 in St Lucia, we decided to head north in 2011 in order to be out of the hurricane zone. After the Turk & Caicos Islands and the Bahamas, we headed north, reaching the US at Savannah, Georgia. We don't need to describe our feelings sailing by the foot of the Statue of Liberty, and along the coastline of Manhattan. We then headed further north up the eastern seaboard, as far as the Canadian border. Heading back south we stopped off again in New York to drop ...

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