Explorer 39 Caroll completes a round the world trip

On the twenty-seventh, February, 2012 the Explorer 39 Caroll completed a round the world voyage. Her skipper, Raimundo Nascimento, or sailor Raimundo, as he prefers to be called, is unquestionably a Sailor with capital letter. For us from B & G Yacht Design, this is reason for a deep feeling of pride, since this is the sixth boat from our design to accomplish a circum-navigation, the third to do it single-handed. (See our section – Hall of Fame.)

The last few metres to be run before arrival. Caroll approaching the Yacht Club Rio de Janeiro pier, after completing the last leg of the voyage.

It was very amusing to follow the trip on SPOT and watch the videos Raimundo edited in his blog. What pleased us most was seeing Caroll leaving the miles behind, keeping its course almost as straight as an arrow, sailing at an astonishing speed for a cruising sailboat. One of these videos was taken between Durban and Port Elizabeth, when they were caught by the worse storm in the whole trip. Watching the video carefully we noticed how Caroll was steady on those conditions. In a point on the footage Caroll heels to leeward to the point of washing the decks for a few seconds, soon coming back to the upright position, without ever missing her course. Raimundo told us that during this depression Caroll reached amazing 17.5 knots when surfing a freak wave without losing steering control. As he was getting acquainted with his boat he admitted he became excessively self-confident, sometimes neglecting being more cautious, carrying more canvas than it would be wise to keep on. The project had been developed with this intention in mind, however there is no better way to test a new design than to take the boat for a round the world trip.

We already had reported the first part of Caroll’s voyage in a previous article published in our news. We had the article ready to be published when we received the news of Raimundo being chased by Indonesian pirates in the Timor sea. So we included his account as the highlight of the story. Reminding the incident we are copying what Raimundo wrote in his blog:

Today at 3 p.m. I was approached by a fishing trawler with a crew of four, three of them wearing hoods, looking like being Indonesians, ordering me with signals to stop the boat. I was in the way of hoisting a smaller jib when I heard the noise of their engine, and at first glance I imagined they were there by chance, but when watching more carefully and seeing they were hiding their faces with hoods, my legs trembled uncontrollably They were at no more than 300m from us. After thirty seconds of no action, I finally ran aft as fast as I could, started the engine, disconnected the wind vane, turned on the automatic pilot, and in full throttle and the assistance of the sails, changed course and ran away like a bat out of hell. It seems they didn’t expect this reaction, since they probably believed I was going to stop. Notwithstanding, they also changed course trying to catch me. However sailing at ten knots Caroll was no easy prey for them, and the distance between us kept increasing. After fifteen minutes of fierce pursuit they gave up chasing us, while I kept the engine at its maximum revs for a whole hour until they disappeared on the horizon.

I believe they were professional fishermen and amateur pirates, since they didn’t posses long range weapons. However if it wasn’t for the superb speed of my boat I would be most probably lying deep in the Indian Ocean together with my beloved Caroll. Tomorrow I’ll probably be out of the range of Indonesian fishermen and this night I’ll sail with navigation lights off, counting on radar, AIS and my watches, to avoid a collision. I thanked the Almighty to have allowed me to keep going on my trip...

Caroll in Keeling Cocos. This atoll in the Indian Ocean was the first stop after being chased by pirates.

After the pirates chasing nightmare any other event should be anti-climax. Nonetheless Raimundo never relented in pushing his luck, proving in many other occasions that he is unquestionably a good seaman.

One of the stop-overs Raimund praised was Reunion Island, a place where he was very welcome.

After calling at Mauritius and Reunion, Raimundo departed bound for Durban leaving Madagascar to the North. During this stretch he had to endure a couple of depressions, the infamous southerly busters, when Caroll proved again how seaworthy she is. But the worse was still to come; the ultimate storm he had to endure between Durban and Port Elisabeth we referred above.

The Explorer 39 is a two rudders, swing-keel cruising sailboat. After the design had been tested in all sailing conditions during Caroll’s round the world trip, we can be relaxed in the sense that the model behaved accordingly with the predicted performance. However it was the outstanding competence of her sixty-two years old skipper that allowed her to return sound and safe to her port or register

The remaining trip was accomplished in admiral seas, with only one stop over in Cape Town before the triumphal arrival at Rio de Janeiro, where the adventure started, where he was received as a celebrity by heaps of friends, relatives and journalists

Click here to know more about the Explorer 39.