A Portsmouth-born scientist set out with his family to sail from America to the Isle of Wight on a two year voyage that would take them around the world.
Dr Michael Pleass, and his wife Nikki decided to take their two daughters, Anne, 16, and Susan, 14, with them on their trip.
The family planned to take their Dutch-built steel-hulled 46-footer Gouden Draak around the world via the Panama Canal, the South Pacific, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and the Mediterranean.
Dr Pleass was born in Cosham before moving to Cowes, Isle of Wight, with his parents.
He met his wife while they were both students at Southampton University.
The family moved across the Atlantic when Dr Pleass was awarded a fellowship at Ottawa University.
The family made regular trips back to the Isle of Wight, crossing the Atlantic on their boat, but the couple had often talked of sailing around the world when Dr Pleass retired.
Their progress would be closely followed by the scientist’s parents and the family would be kept in touch through cassette tape-recordings.
Mrs Pleass senior said: ‘I’m sure they will make it back to the island safely.’