Minoru Saito - Saito's 8th Solo Circumnavigation -- This Time The "Wrong Way Around"

Saito's 8th Solo Circumnavigation -- This Time The "Wrong Way Around"

Sailing west-to-east to circle the globe in a wind-driven craft is no small feat but rarely is the plan to go westwardly instead — the "wrong way around" — against the prevailing winds, currents and waves. This route puts immense stresses on the vessel and crew, and for solo sailors, days can pass with little or no sleep when the going is particularly hard.

Few single-handers have attempted such a feat and certainly none near Saito's age — when he finished this voyage he was 77 years and 8 months old.

The voyage started with an October 2008 departure from Yokohama, and entailed a westward circumnavigation of 26,500 nautical miles (49,100 km), and expected arrival back in Yokohama in the spring of 2010, after 6 months. Instead, it took almost 3 years for him to successfully complete the circumnavigation.

Saito's vessel encountered a number of problems. He stopped for repair in Sydney, Australia in November 2008, in Fremantle, Australia in December and in Cape Town, S.Africa in February. He was disabled with rudder problems at Cape Horn, Chile in April, 2009. He was towed to the world's southernmost city, Punta Arenas, Chile, where he over-wintered and carried out repairs. A second attempt around the Horn was successful, but sail and engine problems forced him to return to Punta Arenas, where he again attended to repairs. He restarted the circumnavigation in late January, 2010. He still had engine problems and stopped at Valdivia, Chile in February-March 2010 for repair. He then made a long stop in Honolulu, USA (June 2010-May 2011) and shorter stops in Galapagos, Equador and Ogasawara, Japan.

He finished in Yokohama on September 17 2011, 1,080 days after his departure.

Saito's single-handed westward circumnavigation set two of the most-unchallengeable records of all sports -- a solo circumnavigation at age 77 years and 8 months, and his 8th time around the globe solo in a sailing yacht.

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