Matthew Sheahan sails the latest launch for the man who's been everywhere, Jimmy Cornell’s new Exploration 45

Plot Jimmy Cornell’s cruising tracks on a map of the world and you’ll end up with a picture that looks much like the British Airways’ global route map in the back of their in-flight magazine. With so many trails stretching back and forth across every ocean on the globe, Cornell’s lifetime of cruising makes for a cat’s cradle of offshore passages. The message is clear, there are few places that Jimmy Cornell hasn’t been since he first set off with his young family in 1975.

That first trip turned out to be a six year cruise taking in 70 countries and 68,000miles and was the beginning of an extraordinary career that became the inspiration for thousands of others to cross an ocean or two. His book ‘World Cruising Routes’, now in its 7th edition, has sold almost 200,000 copies and has become the blue water sailors’ bible. In addition, his World Voyage Planner and his Ocean Atlas are just two of the 16 books he has written, many of which have been translated into several languages.

Aside from his success in publishing, his most famous achievement is setting up the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, the ARC. Now approaching its 28th year and run by World Cruising Ltd. (after he sold his financial interest in the event), the transatlantic cruise in company has seen a total of 5,091 boats cross the pond from the Canaries to the Caribbean each year. This in turn helped to encourage some to go even further afield and take part in his various rallies across the Pacific and around the world.

So with over 200,000 miles under his belt and having owned three blue water cruisers it is hardly surprising that when it came to explaining what he wanted for his next boat, Jimmy Cornell had some firm views and a long wish list. But even by his own globe-trotting standards, he had upped the ante when he decided that his new yacht would not only need to be the perfect blue water cruiser, but also be capable of negotiating the Northwest Passage.

The Garcia Exploration 45 is the product of this detailed and challenging brief. But as we were to discover when we headed to Cherbourg to visit the yard and test the boat, she is much more than simply one man’s dream boat.

In encouraging thousands of people to head further over the horizon than they might have initially planned, his books, charts and rallies have also motivated a new ambitious cruising niche to leave the popular routes and venture into more remote territories. And while many of the world’s leading up-market blue water cruisers are capable and versatile yachts, there appears to be a growing desire for something even more robust. A go-anywhere boat.

Put another way, think of what you might do with the sailing equivalent of the ruggedness and self sufficiency of a Land Rover, combined with the comfort and sophistication of a Range Rover. With five boats sold and in build before the first boat was even launched, the Exploration 45 is evidence of a growing appetite for this mix, a modestly sized, multi purpose, go anywhere, sailing off roader.

See Yachting World Sept 14 issue for full feature.

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