Spirit of Cardiff meets up with fellow circumnavigators – a trawler attempting the same trip in the opposite direction…

Spirit of Cardiff meets up with fellow circumnavigators – a trawler attempting the same trip in the opposite direction? Clive Tully reports:

The sun has gone in, and a thin mist has turned the light grey. It’s early Saturday evening, and we’ve just received the round the world trawler/yacht Nordhavn’s latest position update by email. It was taken six hours ago, so Alan does a calculation to take into account how far and in which direction they’ve travelled since. “We’re virtually on top of them,” he announces.

Eyes strain to pierce the mist, and Steve scans the radar screen. We manage one false alarm, seeing what looks like Nordhavn off our starboard bow. We race over to it, full of excitement. It’s an American registered boat, and although vaguely similar, not what we’re looking for. Disturbingly there’s no one on the bridge, which is probably just as well. They might have been a bit concerned to see a bright yellow RIB circling them at speed.

Shortly afterwards, we pick up another blip on the radar. “It’s a mile and a half ahead,” says Steve. “It must be them. There isn’t anything else out here.” As we get closer, we can see it’s definitely Nordhavn, but they haven’t spotted us either. Alan brings us alongside and suddenly someone is waving to us. We tie up and jump aboard.

Joe Meglen, along with Dennis and Gary, have taken over sailing the 40ft long Nordhavn from Acapulco in Mexico to Dana Point in California, where she completes her eight-month circumnavigation, possibly also becoming the smallest powerboat to have circumnavigated the world (so far).

The contrast between Nordhavn and Spirit of Cardiff couldn’t be more marked. Nordhavn is fitted out with everything you could wish for. It’s just seven feet longer than Spirit of Cardiff, but it has cabins with beds long enough for tall people, a toilet, shower, kitchen, TV and sumptuously furnished lounge area. It’s tempting to cut the line attached to Spirit, her engine still ticking over, wallowing forlornly behind as Nordhavn gradually tows her back up the Baja coast towards Dana.

For the Nordhavn crew, the biggest concern for their three crazy Brit visitors (their words, not mine) is whether they’ve chilled the beer enough! It goes down a treat, as do their hot dogs. It all definitely makes our facilities look a trifle Spartan. We on the other hand can go three to four times as fast as them, and to prove the point, there’s a brief moment later during my first watch when we nearly hit 30 knots. Shame that doesn’t happen more often!

We spend about an hour and a half on board the Nordhavn, but sadly all too soon it’s time to go our separate ways. We reel in our trusty Spirit and clamber aboard. It’s a unique moment in powerboating history. Two completely different powerboats circumnavigating the world in opposite directions, two entirely different types of expedition, meeting up mid-ocean. A dream, no doubt, but it would be great to see both vessels side by side at the next London Boat Show.

Our refuelling stop at Cabo san Lucas at the sandy southern tip of Baja California in Mexico comes hard on the heels of our meeting with Nordhavn. The end of the Baja peninsula is spectacular, sand dunes and hills, and the town itself is very much a holiday resort. It’s just a short stay here to refuel the boat and shop for a few vital provisions. Next stop Acapulco.