Kim and Emory Zimmer have just begun the adventure of a lifetime. The couple departed on the WorldARC, a cruising rally that takes participants around the world, in January from St. Lucia and have since spent time in Colombia, Panama and the Galapagos islands.
During the course of their journey, we will check in with them from time for some reports from the field. For this first installment, we wanted to know how did they reach this point, and how did they prepare?
K&E: Our plan/dream, really began about 20 years ago when we started to think about life after work. We set our sights on a sailing adventure, never realizing at that time it would lead to an ambition to sail around the world! About 5 years before retirement, knowing we were on track financially and our children were on track toward their goals, we finalized our plan to sail as we moved into retirement.
We began studying sailboats and preparing for this new adventure, which led us to Someday, a Jeanneau 53. We purchased the boat about a year before retirement and spent that year getting her ready for a cruising life. In July 2015, about 3 weeks after retirement, we set off for the Caribbean. What an amazing experience leaving the Jeanneau dock in Newport, Rhode Island! Little did we know how much we had to look forward to! We’ve lived aboard our Someday and have loved our last two and a half years sailing full time from Newport, down the East Coast, through the Bahamas and Turks & Caicos on our way to the eastern Caribbean.
Over the past two years, we have circumnavigated the eastern and central (south) Caribbean twice. Puerto Rico was an excellent port for boat improvements, and we spent the last two hurricane seasons enjoying Grenada, Bonaire and Curacao. Since we visited virtually every island in the chain twice, we felt ready to move on, and the WorldARC was the best way for us to realize our dream of sailing around the world.
We had heard about the WorldARC, did some research and decided that it would provide the safest and most enjoyable path for navigating the long passages and regulation intricacies of the various countries. The WorldARC organizers provide full support including detailed boat requirements for the circumnavigation, many of which we had already completed as a result of our last two years living aboard.
As for preparing ourselves, we have been sailing together for 30 years, had each taken diesel engine and meteorological training, and had both attended sailing schools. Both of us are engineers, so we are fairly analytical and hands-on. Emory graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1980 and was a Surface Line officer during his 6.5 years of service. Aside from preparing our boat and ourselves, we sold our house, put furniture in storage, and ensured all other normal matters were sorted.
When the World Arc departure date of January 6, 2018 finally dawned, we felt satisfied with our year of detailed preparations, yet were overwhelmed with the emotion of what we were undertaking as a husband-and-wife team. This was apparent as we departed St Lucia on leg 1 of our voyage — we both had a few tears in our eyes! So the adventure begins…