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Sailor achieves 1152 continuous days at sea for new record

by Nancy Knudsen on 19 Jun 2010
Reid Stowe - Anna arriving in Manhattan - Photo Kathy Willens SW
A long LONG range cruising sailor is back on dry land after more than three years continually at sea. Artist and adventurer Reid Stowe had been 1152 days at sea without stopping and without being re-supplied with either food or fuel, establishing a new world record.

Stowe, who's 58, docked his 70ft schooner at about 1:20 p.m. Thursday in Manhattan in New York City. It was the first time he had touched land in 1,152 days. He anchored in New Jersey for a few days but didn't get off the boat.

Stowe also met his two-year-old son for the first time Thursday. His girlfriend, Soanya Ahmad, had been traveling with him until she was inexplicably homesick after more than 300 days at sea. She was taken off the yacht when close to Western Australia, and the reason for her sickness was established by a test once she arrived in Perth. She was pregnant.

The toddler, named Darshen, was sleeping in his mother's arms when Stowe arrived at Pier 81 on his home-built schooner, The Anna, and kissed Ahmad on the cheek. Stowe's five brothers and sisters and other family members also greeted him in a tearful homecoming.

Stowe has become the first person to sail around the world for more than one thousand consecutive days. However, when the 1000 days were up, he sailed on, preferring, like a true cruising sailor, to arrive in New York when the weather dictated. This involved an extra 152 days.

“This is a new human experience,” Reid said on arrival. “For three years I’ve been humble and silent, living very close to God and death.”

At the emotional reunion with Soanya and first meeting with Darshan he admitted, “That was the toughest part of the journey, letting Soanya off the boat.”

When asked by reporters, Ahmad said she never feared for her life, although she had not been a sailor previous to her undertaking the journey, begun on April 21 2007. “I had to trust in Reid,” she said. “That takes a level love.”

Reid said he built the schooner, which he named Anne, with the help of his brother at a family cottage in North Carolina.

The ship held up remarkably well, despite being hit by another boat after just 15 days at sea, and having its sails torn during a close encounter rounding Cape Horn. The rent sails kept him from being able to sail into the wind the duration of the journey.

But Reid persevered. After three years, he is finally reunited with his family and friends.

“This was all accomplished through the power of love,” Reid said. “My love for humanity gave me strength to do this voyage.”

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