Injured 'tough old bugger' continues record bid

Former Dunedin man Stanley Paris on board his yacht Kiwi Spirit. Photo supplied.
Former Dunedin man Stanley Paris on board his yacht Kiwi Spirit. Photo supplied.
Round-the world solo yachtsman Stanley Paris has significant injuries after falling from his mast, more than 2000km east of Porto Alegre, in Brazil.

The former Dunedin man (76) has suspected cracked ribs and an injured left arm, but is soldiering on to in his attempt to set a record to become the oldest and fastest person to sail solo around the world from Bermuda.

His attempt was nearly in tatters at the weekend when he tried to repair a sail destroyed by storms in the South Atlantic.

''The wind picked up and I was caught with a light headwind sail, which was in danger of being overloaded,'' he said in his daily website blog.

''On several occasions I had to take the helm. It was a scary situation and no sleep for me.

''Finally at 4am, a gust blew out the sail and torn fabric filled the air with a swooshing sound.

''It was dark and there was nothing I could do but watch the sail self-destruct.''

At dawn, he began the long process of getting the sail down and on deck before stuffing it away below. It was a task too dangerous to do at night, he said.

While Dr Paris pulled on pieces of sail stuck in the shrouds, a piece suddenly gave way and he fell on his back on to a stainless steel dorade - a small, box-shaped extrusion on the deck.

''The pain just below my left scapula [shoulder blade] was as much as any pain I have ever experienced.

''I lay still for a few minutes testing my lungs and then started to get going.

''I could feel a rib cracking in my back. Crawling was out [of the question] as my left arm could take no weight.

''A few more actions and I collapsed for several hours in the cockpit.''

Yesterday, Dr Paris said he was feeling better but was very limited in what he could do with his left arm.

''It's getting better and will take a few more days before some of the needed tasks on the boat can be attended to.''

He is about a third of the way between South America and South Africa, and said was sailing ''conservatively and gently'' until he was ready for the full rigour of daily duties again.

''I shall be fine - I just need to take it easy as best I can for now.''

His son Alan said based on his description of the pain, he had ''fairly significantly'' damaged his ribs where they connect with the spine.

Mr Paris said his father had no lung capacity issues or blood in the lungs, so he believed he was probably past the worst of it.

''He's a tough old Kiwi bugger.''

Dr Paris' official record attempt began on December 7.

After South Africa, he will sail through the Southern Ocean past Australia, New Zealand and South America, before heading back to Bermuda. He hopes to do it within 120 days, 30 days quicker than the late Dodge Morgan's solo Bermuda-to-Bermuda record, set in 1986.

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