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Guo Chuan becomes first Chinese solo non-stop circumnavigator

by Xinhua on 6 Apr 2013
Guo Chuan - first Chinese solo non-stop circumnavigator - arrives home in Qingdao Xinhua - China Daily

China's Guo Chuan is celebrating with his world record in Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province, April 5, 2013.

Guo sailed back home on Friday morning to become the first Chinese to successfully circumnavigate the globe singlehanded. Aboard his Class40 yacht, 48-year-old Guo travelled about 21,600 nautical miles in 138 days before he returned to his hometown of Qingdao, where he set off on November 18 last year.

Guo Chuan on Friday became the first sailor from China to complete a non-stop solo circumnavigation of the globe. Aboard a 40-foot (12.2 meters) monohull, the 48-year old returned to the northeastern port city of Qingdao, his home town, after a gruelling 138-day, 21,600-nautical-mile voyage.

Guo jumped into the sea for celebration before his yacht pulled over, and swam towards the dock to meet his wife and sons, who joined hundreds of local citizens and sports officials at a welcome ceremony. 'I am so happy that I can again see so many people, so many people who care about me,' said Guo, who knelt down as soon as he stepped on land with tears streaming down his cheeks.

'I can't even believe I made it. If this is real, I am the happiest man in the world. I don't have to eat those awful dehydrofrozen food any more, and I can sleep as long as I want while not worrying about winds and fishing nets. I don't have to wash my hair with seawater either. And instead I can enjoy a hot shower,' he added.

As Thursday was Ching Ming Festival (Grave-Sweeping Day), a traditional festival when Chinese mourn their deceased family members, Guo paid homage to his late father after his Odyssey-like adventure. 'I hope he can share the moment with me. He passed away two years ago when I was training in France. I wanted to rush home to see him the last time but I did not make it. I wish he could see me today. I think he would understand in the other world and feel happy about me,' said a sobbing Guo.



Guo had expected to finish the circumnavigation within 125 days but was forced to prolong his journey following a string of hard times on board, ranging from equipment failures, a fishing net barrage off the Chinese coast, a fast-moving tropical storm and falling into an area of no wind a few days after entering the southern hemisphere.

On New Year's Day, Guo climbed up the six-story-high mast to repair the sail. 'I think I should have done more sail-testing before setting off. This is a lesson,' Guo said. 'Another lesson I should learn is to bring more delicious food, because I don't want to be in semi-starvation any more during my next sailing adventure.'

Guo, whose childhood dream was becoming a scientist, was also philosophical in thanking the wind. 'I want to thank the wind for being my enemy as well as my friend. It is the wind that keeps me company all the time. It challenges me, but also brings me home,' he said.

After departing from Qingdao, Guo sailed south and east across the Pacific Ocean to Cape Horn in Chile, sailed into the Atlantic Ocean, then went into the Indian Ocean via the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa before passing through the Sunda Strait in Indonesia to return to Qingdao.

Guo is the first and only professional offshore sailor in China. He is also the first Chinese to take part in the Clipper Round the World in 2006 and the Volvo Ocean Race as the media crew member on Green Dragon from 2008 to 2009. In 2011 he became the first Chinese to participate in the Mini Transat sailing event.















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