Circumnavigating as a Reluctant Sailor



Janet Peters

Circumnavigating as a Reluctant Sailor

Being persuaded to give up my busy life in Toronto, sell my house and move into a sailboat I, the Reluctant Sailor, began a journey of adventure for six years. Circling the world with my husband on Solara I encountered many storms, sailed on immense bodies of water, visited 70 countries, and saw small isolated islands that only sailors on small boats could reach. The Reluctant Sailor is the story of this adventure. I learned how to handle rough seas, sail in unknown waters, check into strange ports and encounter dangerous areas such as the Gulf of Aden. I overcame my fears, and finally learned to be an important partner to my husband.


I live in Collingwood on the shores of Georgian Bay. When our circumnavigation was over my husband and I retired there. Before retirement and sailing, I had taught school in Toronto and led a busy life with 3 grown children and 2 grandchildren. It is in Collingwood on weekends that my husband and I started sailing. We had a 27-foot Mirage, a Canadian sailboat made in Quebec. My husband enjoyed day sailing from Collingwood into the bay and beyond. I didn’t sail with him very much as Georgian Bay could be very rough and storms would come up suddenly and the boat was more a racer than a cruising yacht. Outside of our local lake we did arrange a few charters, none of which prepared us for the task of circumnavigation. Our eventual sailboat 42-foot Cabo Rico was a class above any day sailor. My husband agreed to buy the Cabo Rico for that reason. He wanted to make sure that I was going to be happy and safe. During our six years sailing that wasn’t always the case. In spite of our naïve expectations about this endeavor we went ahead with all the necessary planning and five years later set out from Collingwood to pick up our new yacht in Fort Lauderdale on a very snowy January day.

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