Petr Ondráček and his lonely cruise without assistance around the world

The cruise was a joint project of Petr and his wife Jarmila. The preparation works took 7 years and the project was fully self-financed – especially re-building of the boat for one man operation and purchasing of top-class navigation and communication technologies.

The main goal of the project was to perform first Czech singlehanded circumnavigation without stop and assistance on self-made, 8,5 meters long laminated sailing boat called Singa. Besides this, Petr wanted to challenge the record of Robin-Knox Johnston from 1968 of the fastest cruise of this type (313 days).

It was supposed as well to crown Petr’s attempts to sail around all most important capes of the world. The planned cruise started at the traditional starting point in Falmouth, was directed eastwards around the Good Hope Cape, Australia, Horn cape and back.

Singa was transported on a truck from dry dock in a Czech mountain village Mokré to Gruenendeich (GER). She was here furnished and her equipment was turned on. On the 6th August Singa sailed on the Elbe in the English port Falmouth, where were done the final preparatory works and the boat was supplied with all necessary equipment for one year of non-stop cruise.

After having said good bye to his wife who took an important part on the preparation and execution of the cruise, Petr set off for the starting line. He crossed it on Sunday 28th August 2011 at 10:28 UTC at 49° 54,4´N 005° 12,5´ W.

In the middle of the Bay of Biscay, however, he had to face a serious breakdown of his electrical automatic pilot and wind generator. Petr then decided to return to Falmouth. After purchasing of the broken equipment and another automatic pilot, Petr departs with Singa once more on the 18th September 2011 at noon from 49° 54,49´N, 005° 15,25´W. This time he was heading towards storms with prevalent south-west winds. So the cruise through the Bay of Biscay last 10 days.


Having sailed in extreme conditions of storms alternated with windless weather in the Horse latitudes under the Cape Verde, Singa crosses the equator on the 2nd November at 05:56:36 UTC on the meridian 28° 32,475´W.

The cruise in the Southern Atlantic is fast and on the 2nd December 2011 Petr with Singa sails around the Good Hope Cape and enters the stormy Indian Ocean. He spends there Christmas and welcomes the new year 2012.

During sailing in the Indian Ocean technical issues with electronics and automatic pilots start to appear. They were partially substituted by a mechanical device with elastic bands, that Petr invented and created as emergency solution. The journey starts to be significantly delayed – mostly because of frequent storms with head winds reaching 50 knots, counter currents and high waves. The boat must often stop because of adverse conditions and the mechanical automatic pilot doesn’t manage to navigate in the indicated direction.

The worst happens on the first Spring day – a double overturning of the boat at 01:30 UTC a 02:30 UTC around 200 nm southern from Tasmania in a storm with wind reaching 70 knots and waves high around 10 meters. After the first overturning, the main sail is completely torn. Petr has now only one main sail, as he, having auto-financed his project, could afford only two sets of sails. Besides this, Petr looses as well the water anchor after breaking of a 14 mm rope.

The loss of main sail and water anchor and the delay increased too much the risks during the July storms at the Horn Cape. Such small boat would definitely not be able to avoid further overturnings, that would lead to severe damages on Singa or need for emergency call.


Having evaluated the situation and all risks, Petr decided to terminate the nonstop journey in its middle at the antipode and to land in Auckland, New Zealand. Singa sails across the antipode on the 17th April 2012 at 04:52 UTC and changes the direction towards Auckland.

Since the second departure, Petr sailed 16 162 Nm in 5077 hours. It has been so far the longest Czech lonely nonstop cruise. Petr as well managed to complete his dream about sailing around all world important capes – Finisterre (POR), Good Hope Cape (RSA), Leeuwin (AUS), South West Cape (TAS) and Horn Cape where he sailed at 1998.

Neither the cruise to Auckland was an easy one. The loss of one blade of the water propeller didn’t allow usage of engine. Frequent storms with head winds that alternated windless conditions and another double overturning of the boat in the Hawke’s Bay with destroying of the remaining main sail tested thoroughly Petr’s and Singa’s endurance. After a dramatic finish, Petr landed in Auckland at 3 am on the 29th May 2012.

This extreme and dramatic journey is described in Petr’s book “Alone in four oceans“(IFP Publishing, 2013) and on his web pages