Ronstan

World’s Best Racing Navigator

Published on October 19th, 2015

2015-09-23_10-33-30Spending 40 years sailing the world’s oceans has been a dream come true for John Jourdane, who retired from teaching and made a second career navigating the high seas.

A boat delivery in 1975 turned into decades of travels and stories, ranging from Transpac competitions to sailing with the late Roy Disney, Sr., on Christopher Columbus’ navigational route from Spain to the Caribbean in 1992.

During his travels at sea, the Long Beach (CA) native found time to pen two books — “Icebergs, Port and Starboard” and “Sailing With Scoundrels and Kings” — and helmed the Reichel/Pugh 78 Zephyrus in this year’s Transpac Race and be named the world’s best racing navigator in 1993 by Yachting Magazine.

Overall, Jourdane, now 71 years of age, has sailed more than 300,000 miles, including 51 trips between California and Hawaii, 12 Atlantic Ocean sailings and three worldwide navigations. Chatting with Jourdane for a few minutes would likely mean hearing stories of sailing the South Pacific or viewing photos of his navigation around Cape Horn. There were also adventurous sails to New Zealand intertwined with teaching new sailors tricks of the trade through U.S. Sailing’s Safety at Sea Seminars.

Jourdane, who recently recounted his storied career at a luncheon hosted by the Los Angeles Yacht Club, spent a few minutes with The Log to share his humble beginnings, the relationship he has with sailing and the direction he believes the sport is headed. Full report.

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