Paris crosses equator

Former Dunedin man Stanley Paris has just sailed across the equator for the first time in his world record attempt to become the oldest and fastest man to sail solo around the world.

Dr Paris (76) left St Augustine on the east coast of the United States on December 3 in his purpose-built yacht Kiwi Spirit, and his official record attempt began in the northern hemisphere, near Bermuda on December 7.

He is now just off the east coast of Brazil in the southern hemisphere, and is headed across the South Atlantic Ocean towards South Africa.

As he crossed the equator, Dr Paris said in a blog that he had given a lot of thought to all the great navigators of history who had already passed that way.

''I have already crossed the path of Columbus, as he journeyed to San Salvador thinking he was in India - hence the West Indies.

''But now I am crossing the paths of the circumnavigators - Magellan, the first to circumnavigate, although he personally died before the voyage ended, his ship and many of his crew made it.

''Then there was Sir Francis Drake, and the man who first set foot on New Zealand, the country of my birth, Sir James Cook.

''They blazed the way going west. I am going what we know to be the faster route - east with the winds.''

Dr Paris said for the past week, he had been sailing into the weather with the sails ''close hauled'', which meant he was constantly being sprayed with each wave Kiwi Spirit hit, and at times it was taking on full waves and green water would flow across the deck.

''Going forward to inspect, I first have to turn the boat off the wind a little, attach my harness to the jacklines that run the full length of the boat, solely for my safety.

''I quickly do my inspection and work as fast as possible. Inevitably though, I get doused ... and this is just the beginning.''

Once he reaches South Africa, he will sail through the Southern Ocean past Australia, New Zealand and South America, before heading to Bermuda where his record attempt will be completed.

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.



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