There must be something in the cow's milk in New Zealand the way they breed sailors. Now there is not one, but there are two Kiwi-born septuagenarian solo sailors off to try to break records to see who is the oldest, or the oldest/fastest solo sailor to do a circumnavigation.
76-year-old Stanley Paris, wants to be the oldest/fastest
Six months ago, 79-year-old Ron Daw set off to circumnavigate the world, solo. Now Stanley Paris, 76, plans to circumnavigate the globe in his single-hull yacht, Kiwi Spirit, but, probably has he has no hope of being the oldest (Minaru Saito of Japan holds that record right now), he has decided to be the oldest and the fastest, completing his journey in just 120 days
According to locals in Oamaru, where Ron Daw hails from, he will have turned 80 before he reaches home.
Ron Daw's boat, Aparima, is an 8.5m sloop. He was to sail Aparima across the South Pacific and around Cape Horn to the Falkland Islands, where he was to berth for a few days before sailing on to England.
Then he will head home via Africa's Cape of Good Hope and the southern tip of Tasmania. The trip comes after about a year of planning and almost a lifetime of sailing, going back to the age of 10.
Aparima is well outfitted for the trip with new communications equipment, including a satellite phone and a GPS.
He has no computer on board, but the satphone will keep him in touch and he will be writing a log to update family and friends when he reaches the Falkland Islands.
Stanley Paris, on the other hand, is sailing a much larger boat, a Farr designed 19m offshore cruising boat, with lots of very high tech gadgets on board. He is well set up with extra sails, a spare rudder, two life rafts, two satellite phones and even an emergency engine.
Mr Paris might be a New Zealander from Dunedin, but he has been living in the USA for many years, and will be starting his journey from there, leaving St Augustine in Florida on November 30, heading for Bermuda, from where he will start on his Southern Hemisphere summer journey, hoping to pass all the major capes in the Southern Ocean before the weather closes in.
Sail-World has been unable to establish Mr Daw's current location, and would appreciate any update.
Minoru Saito, the oldest so far:
The oldest sailor known to have completed a solo circumnavigation is famed Japanese sailor Minoru Saito, who became the oldest person at age 77. He has successfully made eight solo circumnavigations. On October 16, 2004 Saito left Japan on his yacht Shuten-dohji II (in English: 'Drunkard's Child,' sometimes jokingly westernized by other sailors as 'Shoot Your Doggy') and returned 233 days later to complete his 7th circumnavigation, non-stop. He finished his 8th solo circumnavigation, this time the 'wrong way around,' on September 17, 2011, after 1,080 days. He was 77 years old on completion.