Round-the-world sailor sets off

Stanley Paris.
Stanley Paris.
Stanley Paris has finally begun his round-the-world record attempt, after rough seas with 3m high waves delayed his start on Saturday.

The former University of Otago physiotherapist's yacht, Kiwi Spirit, was to be towed from St Augustine, on the United States east coast, to the start line just outside the city's harbour.

Dr Paris (76) said in a blog the 3m waves over shallow water on the inlet at St Augustine could cause the boat to slam down on the hard inlet sand, with devastating results to the integrity of the vessel.

''There was no other choice [but to delay the start]. Of course, I am frustrated and disappointed, especially for those who have come to see me off and had to leave to catch their flights.''

The weather was calm enough yesterday morning, New Zealand time, for Dr Paris to begin his around-the-world solo, unassisted and non-stop trip.

He is headed towards Bermuda, where his record-setting attempt will officially begin and, from there, he will head southeast into the South Atlantic, past South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and South America before heading back to Bermuda.

He hopes to do it all within 120 days, which will be 30 days quicker than the late Dodge Morgan's solo Bermuda-to-Bermuda record, set in 1986.

If he is successful, Dr Paris will become the oldest person in the world, by about six years, to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around the world.

Embarking on one of the most dangerous voyages on the planet, Dr Paris was confident Kiwi Spirit would get him around the globe.

''I do have a great boat and she has proved that in the three international offshore races that I took part in and gained line honours in two of them.''

He was also confident he would reach the finish line in Bermuda unscathed, so much so, he is already planning more adventures after this one is complete.

He has passed a medical exam for a relay to swim on the English Channel next year, which would be his third time swimming the channel.

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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