The Second Circumnavigation (29 January 1987 – 14 September 1987)

On the second leg of the triple-circumnavigation, the Parry Endeavour was to go eastward around the Horn, across the Equator, and south of the Cape of Good Hope and the Australian mainland. On 14 March 1987, while on the Parry Endeavour in the South Pacific, Sanders was the guest speaker at a Rotary dinner held on Rottnest Island, answering questions from John Penrose and Colin Sanders through Wellington Radio.

Equipment problems continued to plague the voyage. In March 1987, the satellite navigation equipment failed due to problems caused by condensation in the cabin. In place of this equipment, Sanders relied on his sextant and tables for navigation, noting, ‘I am navigating without a distance-run or speed log working. But I am used to that. I estimate the speed and multiply by time’. Shortly afterwards, all three main HF (long distance) radios played up due to condensation.

Additionally, around this time, problems with rust on tins of canned food resulted in leakage and spoilage of canned goods stored in the cabin. Sanders had to throw out most of the cans of tomatoes, spaghetti, baked beans, tinned fish, tinned pineapple and mushroom. To conserve food supplies, Sanders no longer routinely ate lunch every day from this time onwards.

On this second lap, Sanders recorded depth soundings that confirmed the discovery of a major seamount, a core objective of the scientific research undertaken on the voyage. On 22 March 1987, Sanders switched on the echo sounder for a test pattern but discovered the sounder was misreading. By 28 March, Sanders had altered course to follow a line drawn on his chart by John Penrose. Shortly after midnight, the sounder was obtaining definite results. The next morning, the equipment retrieved a true echo at 411 fathoms and the soundings indicated that the mountain peak was right on the line Penrose had marked.

On 29 April, Sanders sailed around Cape Horn for the second time. The next day the yacht’s Servo self-steering rudder had disappeared, with the bolt either working its way off or snapping. Sanders had to fit a new rudder.

On 4 May 1987, the Parry Endeavour was in the South Atlantic. Just after 6.30 in the evening, Sanders heard a shriek of steel – the yacht had bounced off a 4,500 tonne Asian squid trawler! In the trawler’s arc lights, he saw his jib ballooning away from the yacht, the mast leaning and the bow rail a tangled mess. Fortunately there were no holes visible in the yacht’s fibreglass hull. Sanders put the yacht back on course with a revised rig.

Shortly after the collision with the trawler, HF (long distance) radio contact became unreliable once again due to severe weather conditions which caused corrosion in some of the circuit boards. Sanders could only make contact with his radio mentors by VHF radio as he passed Australia.

On 16 July, a screaming squall hit the yacht and capsized it beyond 100 degrees. In yachting terms this is referred to as a ‘knockdown’ as the mast of the boat is below water level. Sanders’ favourite winch handle, buckets and various bits of gear in the cockpit went overboard and lockers in the cabin opened sending food jars crashing and breaking. The wind was at hurricane strength for about half an hour.

Two days later, Sanders crossed the zero meridian from West to East longitude, breaking Perie Banou‘s 1981-82 double circumnavigation record of 419 days, 22 hours, 10 minutes at sea.

On 22 July, the Parry Endeavour approached the Cape of Good Hope in non-stop gale conditions. This second rounding of the Cape provided Sanders with the worst weather conditions of his voyage. Over four continuous days the wind velocity did not fall below 35 knots, with winds of mostly 50-60 knots.

On the morning of 28 July, Sanders experienced his third knockdown of the storm. That afternoon the yacht was knocked down yet again, this time at 90 degrees. In all, the Parry Endeavour was knocked down four times and Sanders was forced to ‘heave-to’, i.e. face in the wrong direction, in horrific seas for three full days and nights.

Approaching the end of the second leg of the voyage, the Parry Endeavour was met by the Portofino off Cape Leeuwin. On board the boat were Richard Stainton and other Perie Banou crew mates hoping to exchange messages with Sanders. Also present was a luxury power cruiser chartered by the Royal Automobile Club’s Chief Executive, Roy Caldwell, a friend of Sanders. Caldwell’s son, John, had also sailed in the crew of the Perie Banou. On 14 September, an RAAF Orion anti-submarine turbo-prop aircraft circled the yacht with journalist and Sanders biographer Hugh Schmitt on board. (Source Project Endeavour)