Simpson Marine Search Yachts
24th June 2020

The Recipe for Happiness at Sea

Discover the Family Hibberd’s round-the-world experience on board a Lagoon 400!

For me, traveling the world with my family has meant the beginning of happiness. Our sailing family comprises Gudrun, my wife, director of a consulting company; Ben, 15, my eldest son; Gaby, 13, the youngest member of the family; and David, that’s me. As a passionate sailor, I took part in the 1996 Olympic Games for South Africa aboard a Laser (one-design dinghy).

As a family, we’ve always shared the joys of sailing aboard our Hunter 41, and we envisaged one day setting off to circumnavigate. The main motivations of this trip were to enjoy good times with the family, to take time for ourselves and to introduce our children to the world and its varied culture. We had a well-defined project, but the aging boat was too small for our family of four. So it needed some thought…

Finally, in 2013, we fell in love with the Lagoon 400. We had no doubt: on board this catamaran we would be sailing in complete safety. Thanks to a solid structure, high quality, and layout and space which met all our requirements, she ticked all the boxes of our satisfaction questionnaire! We named our catamaran Cool Runnings, the original title in English of the movie distributed in France as Rasta Rockett, which tells the story of the Jamaican team competing in the bobsleigh event at the 1988 Winter Olympics. It’s a beautiful film about inspiration and motivation.

The plan was to cast off for a three-year adventure. First, we’d be crossing the Pacific Ocean, then the Indian Ocean and finally returning across the Atlantic.

We had the impression that we were ready, when suddenly the idea of a round-the-world trip began to raise concerns in our minds: too much to think about, to plan, etc. So, to put into perspective the extraordinary dimensions of this journey, we decided to break it up. We sailed from crossing to crossing, without ever worrying about the entire journey and, little by little, we completed our circumnavigation almost without even realizing it.

Once our doubts were dispelled, we faced another problem: everyone says that the hardest thing is actually setting off. And that’s absolutely true! Leaving our possessions, our home and our loved ones was a difficult step, but we had been dreaming of this trip for so long that we remained determined. Nevertheless, you need to be prepared for it, the departure requires time, organization and willpower. Only a week before the start were we thinking we had finally made the right decision.

We had assumed that the majority of sailors would be retired. It turned out that 60% of the people we met were families, just like us. But it’s not just people, we also had some great underwater encounters! Between Mayotte and South Africa, we came across many whales and their calves. They were swimming all around us, and we were constantly having to adjust our course! An incredible meeting that I am delighted to have made during the day…

It was unthinkable for us to set out on a circumnavigation without being sure that we could maintain an optimal level of safety. Lagoon catamarans met this requirement, thanks also to the support of the Lagoon teams. Knowing that anywhere in the world, we could be “repaired” by the Lagoon service network was the highest level of safety we could expect!

The sea is a great example of what our blue planet has to offer and a catamaran is the best way to discover it. We’ve learned that our planet is fragile and that pollution at sea is a scourge that we must all fight at our own level. We also met some very nice people all around the world and discovered that the simple life on board a catamaran can make you the happiest man in the world!

With more than 33,000 nautical miles on the log, covered around our beautiful blue planet, that the Hibberd family returned, three years later, to Madeira Beach, Florida! David and his family have unforgettable memories of their extraordinary discovery of the world. Their return was an opportunity for David to enter the charter market with his own catamaran consulting and delivery company. Cool Runnings is still in service and is part of the charter fleet. This Lagoon 400 has been a real driver of discovery for them and has allowed them to bring together all the ingredients for happiness at sea, making the dream of all globe-trotters come true!


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