An Evening with Jimmy Cornell

Sandwiched between his arriving in the UK from the Canaries and flying on to Singapore, this was a brief encounter with sailing legend and author, Jimmy Cornell, who was guest speaker at one of the Gerrard’s Cross Sailing Association’s (GXSA) winter talk series in November.

Since beginning to sail with his family 40 years ago, Jimmy has covered 200,000nm AND completed 3 circumnavigations, putting our nearly 40,000nm sailed and nearly completed single circumnavigation in the shade!  But we’re still proud of our near achievement.

Founder of the World Cruising Club and Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) back in the 80’s, and in which we took part in 2009 on Pipistrelle (follow link), Jimmy has recently created the ‘Odyssey’ series of rallies.  From the round-the-world Blue Planet Odyssey to the Atlantic and the Canary Island Odysseys, he is very actively involved in them all with their focus on climate change.

After talking about passage planning for an Atlantic Crossing, came the most exciting part of the presentation – taking his new purpose built yacht Aventura IV through the Great West Passage in the High Arctic.  Not without its problems including getting a rope caught around the propeller and freeing it in freezing high latitude water, together with riding out an Arctic storm at anchor, the crew of Aventura were finally successful in achieving their goal.  Setting off from London on a passage taking them to Nuuk in Greenland before Baffin Island, and trying the East to West route, they faced the insurmountable problem of getting stuck in ice and could go no further.  So they turned round to make an attempt from West to East!  This involved heading south towards the Caribbean, transiting the Panama Canal and sailing to Costa Rica.  But time was running out if they were to make it in the Arctic summer, so Aventura was put on a ship to Victoria in Canada.  Jimmy and his crew re-joined for the passage through the Aleutian Islands, the Bering Strait and onwards.  Though challenging and hazardous at times, the attempt was successful and some 10,000nm later Aventura returned to London in September 2015.

For more about this intrepid sailor and the Arctic voyage with wonderful photography capturing icebergs, glaciers and polar bears, see

Note: Our well-thumbed 6th edition of the Jimmy Cornell ‘World Cruising Routes’ (now in its 7th revised edition) has been an invaluable constant companion on board Pipistrelle since we set off from the UK seven years ago.  The thumbing doesn’t, however, extend to pages devoted to extreme northerly or southerly latitudes!

Jimmy Cornell's World Cruising Routes

 Las Palmas 2009

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