The remarkable story of the Hamill family's attempt to sail around world

Rob Hamill has been an Olympian, a winner of the Atlantic rowing race and an outspoken champion for his brother who was tortured and murdered in Cambodia.

Now Hamill's taken on his next big new challenge - and this time he's doing it with his whole family.

For five years Rob and his family have been sailing around the world in what they call a cramped, damp floating caravan.

"It was an idea that was seeded probably in my late teens - early to mid-teens - when my eldest brother was sailing, he was attempting to sail around the world but didn't quite succeed," he told Newshub.

Kerry Hamill was killed by the Khmer Rouge after his boat strayed into Cambodian waters in 1977.

"This journey was to basically take the whole family there and it was a big call because we had lots of anxiety about whether it was the right thing to do with the kids... and it was cathartic yeah," Rob said.

The Hamills' journey hasn't been straightforward. The COVID-19 pandemic meant they spent three years sailing around Australia.

"We've slow circumnavigated. We like to stop and smell the roses along the way," Rachel Hamill said.

The boys have been homeschooled.

"They can certainly read and write and do arithmetic. And they've seen a lot of things outside of any classroom would have taught them."

The Hamill family.
The Hamill family. Photo credit: Newshub

Their journey has been documented on their YouTube channel 'The Cruising Kiwis'.

But the journey hasn't been without dangers. Rob's son Finn almost drowned while free-diving.

"He was totally blacked out and he was about six or seven metres down and he was sinking," Rob said.

They managed to pull Finn back to the surface and resuscitated him.

"I started giving him mouth to mouth and it was about six or seven breaths before he started breathing on his own and about another 30 seconds before he was fully conscious again," Declan Hamill said.

Then there was the near miss in fog as 600 ships negotiated the Singapore Straits.

"They saw us first actually and they set off their horn... and they were turning and we turned and we just missed them," Rob said.

All challenges met with the same resilient attitude. The Hamills say you don't have to be born intrepid to have similar adventures, just conquer your fears.

"You know you can overcome that by upskilling yourself, getting some experience under your belt and just go forth and you know have the time of your life," Rob said.

The next stop's the Seychelles and after that? Well, the world is their oyster.