Sailor to attempt record again

One of the great Kiwi battlers is planning to have another go at becoming the oldest man to circumnavigate the globe solo on a yacht.

Former Dunedin resident Stanley Paris (76) set off to break the record last year but was forced to abandon the attempt earlier this year after equipment on his yacht, Kiwi Spirit, began to fail.

There were also concerns about the integrity of the rigging system on the yacht, and his health and safety after he fell and cracked several ribs as he prepared to enter the Southern Ocean.

Dr Paris had hoped to become the oldest person to sail fastest solo around the world from Bermuda, by breaking the record set in 1986 by the late Dodge Morgan, who did it in 150 days, at age 54, on American Promise.

He plans to try again, leaving on November 8 or soon after, depending on the weather.

Dr Paris said he learnt much from his first attempt.

''It was an adventure, an exciting, challenging adventure, to be all alone at sea for an intended 150 days.

''But this time it's unfinished business.

''Those 50 days alone, and with the experiences of handling the yacht in all conditions, as well as the managing of things that went wrong that should never have gone wrong, I learnt a great deal and I am anxious to try again.

''I will be better prepared and so will the boat.''

The departure date would be according to a 10-day weather projection this time.

Last time, for family, friends and spectators, the departure was as close to the advertised date as possible, but that had him arriving in Bermuda with little wind.

''Five days after rounding Bermuda, I was already two days behind the record pace set by Dodge Morgan on American Promise.

''This time I shall wait for a favourable weather window.''

Changes were being made to the boat and how it would be sailed, he said.

''Using poles for downwind sailing, changing the sail inventory, making the boat bulletproof in so many ways will all add to my confidence that the boat and I will not only survive, but that we will do well in all conditions.''

It is fair to say, Dr Paris means business this time.

He is already in training for his second attempt and believes he will be in great shape come departure day.

As part of his training, he plans to swim the English Channel again at the end of August - this time in a relay with five others who are over 70.

Dr Paris had Kiwi Spirit specially designed by New Zealander Bruce Farr, because he believed otherwise it would be impossible for a man in his 70s to mount a successful challenge.

Using his experience in physical therapy and issues related to safety and ergonomics, Dr Paris developed an owner's brief that defined comfort, safety and ease of handling.

The result is a 19.2m-long, 25.6m-high vessel with a retractable bowsprit, lithium ion phosphate batteries, wind, solar and water regeneration, three comfortable cabins and an all-electric galley.

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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