Preparing for a circumnavigation

Like any major expedition, planning is key to success and the devil is in the detail. We spoke to Peter Loehr about what he and his wife Tina Shi are doing over the next year to prepare their yacht and themselves for the adventure of a lifetime.

Preparing for a circumnavigation

US-born sailor Peter Loehr has always wanted to sail around the world. “I went about things backwards really,” he admits. “When I discovered that Oyster organised a world circumnavigation, that event was a great selling point in my decision to buy an Oyster.”

Peter made contact with the Oyster sales team in the USA. “I was looking at a 575 and several other boats – the OWR was a deal-closer – it tipped the scales,” he says.

Peter explains, “Before I bought People Sea, an Oyster 575 I’d never even been on an Oyster before. Dan at Oyster Newport, USA, was fantastic and helped get me to the finish line. The Oyster team in Wroxham, UK were fantastic too in helping me create and commission the boat I wanted.

“With my background in film, I treated the whole boat manufacturing process like it was a movie in production, paying incredible attention to every tiny detail. I think I probably drove the guys mad, but they never let it show.” He laughs, “well maybe sometimes!”

He is full of praise for the team at Oyster. ‘I’ve very happily keyed into the Oyster family. The magic of Oyster After Sales and Technical Support team. Everyone knows that Oyster is renowned for its fantastic service and support.”

Peter will be sailing with his wife Tina Shi. They are not planning to have professional crew with them on the OWR, but will be sailing on some of the legs with their daughter Casey (22) and son Odin (19), with other sailing friends joining them en-route.

On taking delivery of People Sea in 2018 and with limited off-shore sailing experience at that time, Peter opted to have support from Oyster with him for the two big crossings to Southern Europe and then across the Atlantic. “This was great for gaining experience,” he says. “I viewed it as doing a crossing and a sailing academy at the same time.”

He’s ensuring he has all the requisite qualifications required by Oyster to skipper a yacht in the rally. Peter says, “It’s great that Oyster has a list of minimum requirements for a skipper. My sailing learning was through the US scheme ASA sailing, and now I’ve been taking all the RYA courses online. I’ve also added an intensive Marine Weather Certification and Celestial Navigation Certification in the US.”

He admits he’s been practicing his celestial navigation skills. “I can take readings and could triangulate using the afternoon sun set with a reasonable level of accuracy if required in an emergency. However, I wouldn’t like to be without GPS for an entire crossing just yet!”

Sailing to exciting, far off the beaten track destinations is a key attraction, along with the company and support of other participants and the Oyster team. “It’s the camaraderie, being with like-minded friends that we’ve already met through buying the boat. The rally provides the opportunity for group learning, being able to support each other during the circumnavigation,” he concludes.

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