By Stefany Banda
Holt Journal staff writer
Holt native Gregg Granger and his family put their lives on hold when they decided to sail around the world.
The Granger family bought a 56-foot sailboat and named it Faith. Gregg and wife, Lorraine, packed their 5-year-old son and two teen daughters aboard, and then sailed out from Virginia, heading for the Caribbean in the fall of 2003.
Previous to this journey, the Granger family had never sailed anything greater than Hobie Cat on Gun Lake. Granger planned to leave Virginia and proceed to the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal, and around the South Pacific.
“Our story is not about sailing. It’s about the cultures and relationships we entered into and learned from,” Granger said.
The expected two-year journey turned into 4 1/2 years, due to unexpected bumps along their journey.
A stop in Malaysia for repairs that were supposed to take a few weeks, ending up taking 10 months. The Granger children enrolled in school, and even found part-time jobs.
Granger said one of the most memorable parts of the trip was the opportunity to meet new people.
“Our friends and family told us that we were going to places that do not value human life like we do, but our family quickly learned that was not true. If we stay afraid of the world, that keeps us isolated.”
Granger said that weather took control of the journey several times.
The family endured a storm with 75-knot winds while traveling through Tahiti, and sought shelter in Sydney due to cyclones.
Granger said his favorite stops were Yemen and Indonesia.
“To this day, the people of Indonesia rank as some of our favorite. They were warm and welcoming people, who appreciated our efforts to learn about their culture,” Granger said.
Granger shares his family’s adventure in his award-winning book, “Sailing Faith: The Long Way Home.” Granger has made several stops to discuss the book and trip, including an appearance at Michigan State University on April 16.
Tierney St. Aubin attended the presentation with a group of MSU students.
“I thought that the presentation was really inspiring. I can’t imagine the amount of courage it would take for a whole family to sail around the world. It makes you think about the little things we deal with, and how they aren’t so bad or difficult when comparing it to what they went through,” St. Aubin said.
Katie Murri, also a student at MSU, attended the presentation.
“After attending the presentation, I bought the book and couldn’t be more excited to read it. It’s cool to see such a smal- town family accomplish such great things,” Murri said.
Granger said, “I did a lot of things that most people wouldn’t think about doing. But at the same time, it was an investment in our family, and I wouldn’t do it any other way. We’ve got something very special between us, that I would never undo.”