Rigging issues end trip for solo yachtsman

Stanley Paris
Stanley Paris
Former Dunedin man Stanley Paris has been forced to quit his solo circumnavigation attempt, after his yacht's designers expressed grave concerns about a substantial failure of the rigging system.

The 76-year-old had hoped to set a record to become the oldest and fastest person to sail solo around the world from Bermuda, in his custom-built yacht Kiwi Spirit.

His attempt was nearly in tatters last week when he tried to repair a sail destroyed by storms in the South Atlantic, fell and suffered suspected cracked ribs and an injured left arm.

Despite his injuries, he decided to continue.

However, after seeing photos of the failures and repairs on Kiwi Spirit and recognising the design of the rigging attachments to the yacht were inadequate for ocean sailing, Farr Yacht Design president Patrick Shaughnessy urged Dr Paris to halt his attempt.

''I think you have too many substantial problems to head into harm's way,'' Mr Shaughnessy told Dr Paris, who posted Farr's concerns on his blog site.

''The boom-end failure is a substantial one. The jury-rigged mainsheet arrangement looks very prone to chafe.

''That, combined with the jury-rigged reefing arrangement, leads me to believe that a substantial failure is possible.

''To have this combination of problems in your injured state is inviting disaster. Please make the prudent decision and stop,'' Mr Shaughnessy said.

Dr Paris said yesterday he had decided to take the advice and was now headed for Cape Town, about 2700km away.

''To continue in the face of the sage advice would be foolish in the extreme, and cruel to my wife, family and friends.

''I must now abandon this dream.''

Dr Paris said his physical condition improved daily and was not part of the decision.

There would be no second attempt, he said.

The boat would be shipped from Cape Town to Maine, restored with the lessons learned, and be the fast family cruiser she was intended to be.

After more than a month at sea, Dr Paris said he was ''neck and neck'' with the progress of the late Dodge Morgan who set the record of 150 days in 1986, at age 54, on American Promise.


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