The words in his blog said it all: I have decided to abandon and head for Cape Town, some 1,700 miles away. To continue in the face of the sage advice would be foolish in the extreme, and cruel to my wife, family and friends. I must now abandon this dream.
Kiwi Spirit’s route so far
Aspiring round-the-world solo yachtsman Dr Stanley Paris was injured last week in the South Atlantic Ocean east of Porto Alegre, in Brazil, while clearing shreds of torn sail from the shrouds. He has now decided to head for Cape Town, just days after another aspiring around-world non-stop solo sailor, British sailor Glenn Wakefield, quit in the Southern Ocean with compromised shrouds and is heading for Fremantle in West Australia. (See Sail-World story)
Dr Paris, a 76-year-old New Zealander and long time resident of Florida, who was attempting to solo circumnavigate the world non-stop in his 62ft sailing boat Kiwi Spirit, had suffered suspected cracked ribs and an injury to his left arm last week, but was making light of the injuries and continuing in his attempt to set a record to become the oldest and fastest person to achieve such a circumnavigation.
Dr Paris had left St Augustine on the east coast of the United States on December 3 in Kiwi Spirit, and his official record attempt began in the northern hemisphere, near Bermuda on December 7. He was hoping to do it all within 120 days, which would have been 30 days quicker than the late Dodge Morgan's solo Bermuda-to-Bermuda record, set in 1986.
In the end, it was the state of his boat, not his body, which finally put a stop to his attempt to break the two records. His blog bravely goes on:
Life is full of disappointments- some big, some small. This is a big one as it involved four years of planning and execution. Made bigger still by the involvement of so many others, designers, builders, family, friends, and through social media, several thousand more, all now disappointed and perhaps relieved that with the mounting difficulties that the only right decision has been made.
I should say I am sorry to disappoint so many. But there is one thing I can say and that is, 'I tried,' and that my spirit did not give up until those that I must respect made it clear to me that it was over. My physical condition improves daily and is not part of the decision.
There will be no second attempt. It will be a full year before I could start again and I have asked enough of my wife and family already. The boat will be shipped from Cape Town to Maine, restored with the lessons learned, and be the fast family cruiser for which she was intended.
There will be more blogs. In the meantime, to one and all, thank you for your support. Now, some eight days to Cape Town.
So, there will be 'no more blogs' - a courageous statement from a courageous adventurer
The adventure begins
So, what was the 'advice' which caused him to abandon his attempt, which had occupied him for so many years of dreaming and working towards his departure?
Here it is in the words of the chief boat designer at Farr Yacht Design, after seeing photos of the failures and repairs, and (Dr Paris's words) 'recognizing that the design of the rigging attachments to the yacht were inadequate for ocean sailing.':
I have to say looking through them that I’ve become really concerned. My recommendation is to stop and regroup. I know that isn’t what you want to hear, but I don’t believe that you should continue into the Southern Ocean in this state. I think it would be irresponsible to do it. I think you have too many substantial problems to head into harm’s way.
The boom end failure is a substantial one. The jury rigged mainsheet arrangement looks very prone to chafe. That, combined with the jury rigged reefing arrangement, leads me to believe that a substantial failure is possible. If that occurs, you will quickly end up in a loss of mainsail situation. That by itself could quickly lead to a dismasting... I think the widespread failures across so many systems, would have kept a crewed grand prix boat on shore.
To have this combination of problems in your injured state is inviting disaster… Please make the prudent decision and stop.
I wouldn't mind betting there are a few long term cruising sailors out there who would have something to say about what kind of boat is suitable for such a journey