Though it will be next fall before Stanley Paris sets off on his sloop Kiwi Spirit in a quest to be the oldest person to complete a non-stop circumnavigation, the 75-year-old skipper’s plans took a tack in a decidedly right direction this week when he took line honors in the single-handed leg of the Bermuda One-Two Yacht Race.
The race started from Newport, Rhode Island, on Saturday, June 8, and Kiwi Spirit was first across the finish line in Bermuda at 0740 ADT on Wednesday, June 12. The double-handed leg of the race back to Newport left Bermuda on Thursday, June 20. Joining Paris for the return trip was his son, Alan, who competed in the 2002-2003 Around Alone Race.
The 63-foot Kiwi Spirit was designed by Bruce Farr and built for Paris by Lyman Morse in Maine. For his round-the-world voyage, the engine will be removed and Paris will rely on solar power and wind and hydro-generators, hoping to also be the first to circumnavigate aboard an environmentally green boat.
If all goes according to plan, Paris will be 76 years old in November when he embarks on his ambitious voyage to better the 150-day record Dodge Morgan set in 1986 aboard his customized cruising boat American Promise. Paris hopes to make the voyage in 120 days or less. The current record for fastest non-stop circumnavigation—78d:2h:16m—was set by Frenchman Francois Gabart in the 2012-2013 Vendee Globe race.