Horie becomes world’s oldest person to achieve solo, nonstop Pacific crossing at 83

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The Suntory Mermaid III is seen in waters off Wakayama Prefecture on Saturday morning.

Ocean adventurer Kenichi Horie, 83, arrived Kii Channel off Wakayama Prefecture on early Saturday, becoming the world’s oldest person to sail solo across the Pacific Ocean by yacht without making stops.

The voyage took 69 days after Horie set sail from San Francisco in early morning of March 27 Japan time. He took the opposite direction from his first successful Pacific crossing in 1962, when he became the first person in the world to achieve the feat at the age of 23.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Kenichi Horie waves from the yacht off Cape Muroto in Kochi Prefecture on Thursday as he approaches the finish line.

Horie aboard Suntory Mermaid III, which is about 5.8 meters long, crossed the finish line set between the Kii Hinomisaki Lighthouse in Wakayama Prefecture and the Ishima Lighthouse in Tokushima Prefecture at 2:39 a.m. on Saturday after sailing about 8,500 kilometers.

“It felt like I was on thin ice as I faced the bad weather, but I was lucky to finish my voyage thanks to extensive support and cheers,” Horie said in a telephone interview on Saturday. “I feel like I’m still in the prime of my youth. I am happy.”

Towed by a different ship, the yacht left for the Shin-Nishinomiya Yacht Harbor in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture. A ceremony is scheduled to be held Sunday to celebrate his return.