Around the world in 80 days? Try 10 years.
Scott Doran, 59, and Laurie Ritchie, 55, leave this weekend from French Creek Harbour to take their catamaran around the world for the next 10 years.
This trip, Doran said, is a few years in the making. Doran, who is now retired, said for the past year he has been prepping the boat full time, but for a year before that he was prepping part time.
However, Doran is actually ahead of schedule, Ritchie said.
“Now he’s done everything he wants to do before he leaves and he’s going to say, ‘OK, Laurie I’m ready. Let’s go,’” Ritchie said with a laugh.
Their first stop is Port Angeles, Wash. on Aug. 1 where they’ll meet up with some other boats. From there, they said their first big stop is the Sea of Cortez in Mexico, but they plan to “harbour hop.”
“But we’re going to San Francisco for a month, we’re going to L.A., we’re going to go to San Diego, we’re going to go to Ensenada. Every single little harbour, all the way down the West Coast, we’ll be there,” Doran said. “Because we’re in no rush and I want to see those places.”
Ritchie said a lot of people only go to the main harbours.
“They can do that really fast, but then they miss all these cool little places. We just want to take our time and immerse ourselves in the culture. If we find a place that we like, we’ll stay there longer. We want to have that option to stay as long as we want in places if we really love it. If we don’t like it, we’ll just continue on.”
Doran said they plan to go down the west coast of the Americas all the way to Ecuador to get their paperwork in order to go to the Galapagos Islands and then the Coconut Milk Run.
“There are hundreds and hundreds of people every single year who do the exact same thing we’re doing,” said Doran, adding that people keep telling them their trip is unique. “The Coconut Milk Run basically is the trade winds south of the equator. It encapsulate Galapagos, Tahiti, Bora Bora, all the standard South Pacific Islands.”
“We’re following the routes that everybody else takes. We’re not seekers of extraordinarily wild adventures and going to Antarctica and all that stuff. We’re taking standard routes. It’s exotic to you, it would be exotic to the sailor over there. But to sailor abroad? ‘Oh, you’re doing the Coconut Milk Run.’”
That’s just the first part of their trip, from there they’ll head to New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, out into the Indian Ocean, then up the Red Sea into the Mediterranean. They plan to spend about a year in each place, but Doran said they haven’t mapped out which harbours they’ll be stopping at.
But Ritchie, who is a physiotherapist, said it won’t be constant sailing for her. She plans to fly back and forth between wherever they’re sailing and Qualicum Beach. Her last day of work is today.
“For a physiotherapist, if you don’t work for five years, you absolutely go right back to square one, you
absolutely cannot work again. It’s pretty dramatic and that kind of scared me,” she said. “I’m not sure if I really want to make that commitment, so I just want to make a plan to come back and work and then I may decide after a little while, I don’t ever want to work again and I may change my mind, but we’ll see.”
For Doran, he doesn’t plan to leave the catamaran quite as much.
“This is my house, so if I’m leaving the boat, I’m on vacation to some place else. We won’t be coming back for six months (at a time). I won’t be coming back for a month, I’ll be coming back for weeks if I decide to come back at all,” Doran said.
Within their 40×24-foot catamaran Muskoka are two bedrooms, a full bathroom, a kitchen, an indoor and outdoor sitting space and a tool room.
Doran has been busy equipping the boat with some necessary add-ons such as a desalination plant, solar installations and even a washing machine.
“There’s systems you take for granted when you’re living on land that you have to have on a boat, like most boats don’t have a washing machine – we have a washing machine. Clean clothes is kind of important to us.”
During all of this, Doran and Ritchie have been working on their Youtube channel Off the Starboard Hull. On their channel, Doran has uploaded videos including his solar installation and a safety video which has just over 19,000 views.
Ritchie said people can check out more frequent updates on their Facebook page Off the Starboard Hull.