Jimmy Cornell (real name: Dragoș Corneliu Cișmașu) was born in Romania in 1940, growing up in Brașov. After studying Economics at the University of Bucharest he emigrated to London, England in 1969 with his British wife Gwenda. He took up sailing as a hobby whilst working as a reporter for the BBC World Service.
In 1975 Cornell left England with Gwenda and their two children (Doina, aged 7, and Ivan, aged 5) on a voyage around the world. It ended up lasting 6 years, taking them to 70 countries and encompassing 68,000 miles. Cornell sent back regular radio reports to the BBC World Service throughout the voyage, which was to become the first of three circumnavigations Cornell has completed totalling over 200,000 miles afloat.
In 1986 Cornell set up the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC), in which cruising yachtsmen who want to complete a transatlantic crossing sail together in loose convoy. Following the success of the first ARC, Cornell founded the World Cruising Club.
Cornell also wrote the book World Cruising Routes to help other long distance cruisers sail around the world. First published in 1987 by Adlard Coles Nautical, it has gone on to sell 150,000 copies. He has since gone on to write several companion books.
After organising several successful round the world rallies Cornell retired from organising events in 1998. At the end of 2012 he launched a new round the world event, the Blue Planet Odyssey which aims to raise awareness of climate change by visiting parts of the world most threatened by climate change such as Tuvalu in the South Pacific and the North West Passage. In 2013 Cornell launched two more events for cruising sailors, the Atlantic Odyssey and the European Odyssey.
Was einmal klein anfing, sowohl von der Anzahl als auch in der Bootsgröße, hat sich zu einer gigantischen Veranstaltung gemausert. Schiffe unter 40’ kann man nur noch mit der Lupe ausfindig machen.