Paul’s once-in-a-lifetime trip

Paul Sutcliffe in The British Virgin Islands.
Paul Sutcliffe in The British Virgin Islands.

A man from Halifax who gave up his way of life to sail around the Caribbean is hoping to have a book published about his journey.

Paul Sutcliffe, 48, was a university lecturer in California, but gave that up to fulfill his ambition of sailing a boat around his beloved Caribbean.

His 4,000-mile journey from the British Virgin Islands have taken him to Trinidad, along Venezuela to Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, and back to the Virgin Islands via Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

It is documented in his book High and Dry, which describes Paul’s trip-of-a-lifetime and features the challenges he has faced along the way, including pirate attacks, hurricanes and ripped sails.

“I like the idea of being almost self sufficient with wind and solar power, but I also love the Caribbean - the beaches, the sunshine, the music, the scuba diving,” said Paul, who grew up in Lightcliffe.

“I have always loved to travel and I think life should be exciting and challenging.”

When Paul’s four-year visa in the US expired, he took the plunge and thought ‘why not?’.

“I was 44 years old, I had about ten thousand dollars in a pension account that I cashed out. I had a few thousand pounds savings and a credit card.

“I was lucky to find a good boat which cost me just under twenty thousand dollars.”

Paul combines sailing with helping undergraduate students in the Caribbean pass their SAT exams so they can transfer to US universities.

Paul says there have been some memorable moments on the ocean with his boat Sonic Boom.

“There have been so many - swimming with dolphins just off my boat in Guadeloupe, seeing a green flash one sunset in Grand Cayman, drinking rum cocktails in my cockpit with friends.

“This November will mean five years living on board Sonic Boom. I’d like to keep going. I’d like to go through the Panama Canal and across the Pacific.

“If I manage to publish the book and it sells well, who knows, I might be able to put off going back to normality for a while longer.”

Paul’s blog during the voyage has received over 55,000 hits, while he has had two articles published in the magazine Sailing Today.

If you would like to donate to Paul’s Kickstarter fund, go to