He was born on January 7, 1934 in Asakusa, Tokyo.
Veteran ocean sailboat racer Minoru Saito has participated three times in the most prestigious and grueling race in the sailing world, the single-handed, around-the-globe competition originally called the BOC Challenge, then Around Alone, and renamed the 5-Oceans Race which commenced in 2006. The races are run in legs, with stop-overs for rest and repair in several countries along the way.
In his continuing career, Saito has become the most experienced blue-water yachtsman from Japan with transoceanic voyages totaling more than 265,000 nautical miles (491,000 km) — almost exactly the distance to the moon. He has started and finished eight solo circumnavigations of the Earth, the seventh one non-stop, achieving several international honors and world records.
Saito is quite well known among American, European and Australian sailing enthusiasts, and increasingly so in Japan as his international renown becomes better appreciated in his home country.
In January, 2007, Saito was named the recipient of the highly vaunted 2006 Blue Water Medal awarded to one outstanding sailor each year by the Cruising Club of America. This recognition is considered the top international award for adventure sailing.
He was also inducted in 2006 into the Single-handed Sailing Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island, joining such solo sailing luminaries as Joshua Slocum (1844-1909); Sir Robin Knox-Johnston (1939-); Mike Plant (1950-1992); and Isabelle Autissier (1956-).
In January 2012, Saito was named recipient of the Juan Sebastian del Cano Award, given by the 45,000-member United States Power Squadrons. The award is named for the navigator who finished the first-ever circumnavigation of the world led by Ferdinand Magellan in 1522. Saito was cited for successfully completing his 8th solo circumnavigation at age 77, an international record, as well as for his nearly 40-year sailing career that includes a non-stop solo circumnavigation in 2005 at age 71. It was only the second time the award to honor adventure boating has been presented by the organization.
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