Life & Leisure

Japanese man, 83, breaks record after sailing non-stop across Pacific

Tokyo, June 4 (EFE).- Japanese adventurer Kenichi Horie, 83, became the oldest sailor to cross the Pacific Ocean alone Saturday aboard a sailboat and without making stops, after little more than two months.

Horie arrived at his destination in the Kii Strait, which separates the Japanese prefectures of Wakayama and Tokushima (in the west of the archipelago), at 2:39 a.m. local time Saturday (7:39 GMT Friday) on board of the six-meter Suntory Mermaid III boat.

He left on Mar. 27 from San Francisco, on the east coast of the United States, and completed his journey to Japan in 69 days and 7 hours after traveling some 8,500 kilometers, according to his team.

The sailor sailed without an engine, GPS plotter or radar to save space and reduce the energy consumption of his modest ship, and he oriented himself with nautical charts and a mobile application.

The Suntory Mermaid III has two 20-square-meter sails and solar panels to power the electronic devices on board. She was custom designed by Horie to minimize her wind resistance and increase her maneuverability and lightness.

During the journey, the veteran adventurer spoke with his team and other people on the ground through a satellite phone and also transmitted his location via satellite, which could be checked in real time throughout the trip on the website.

The adventurer is scheduled to offer a press conference Sunday from the city of Nishinomiya, in his native Hyogo prefecture, in western Japan.

Horie, a resident of the neighboring city of Ashiya, was the first person to successfully cross the Pacific solo non-stop 60 years ago, and was looking to replicate the feat by setting a new milestone as the oldest person to do so.

On this trip he traced a route similar to that of then but in reverse. Six decades ago, a 23-year-old Horie set off from the west coast of Nishinomiya and took about 90 days on his journey.

The Japanese wrote a best-selling book about that voyage and continued his transoceanic adventures in later years.

At the beginning of the 1970s he made his first non-stop solo round-the-world trip, which he would replicate between 2004 and 2005 in a boat similar to that of his last feat this year.

In 2008 he sailed in a boat powered only by wave power for about 7,000 km, from Hawaii to the Kii Strait.

Horie said his wish is to keep challenging himself until he is 100 years old. EFE


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