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STANLEY PARIS: His Geriatric Circumnavigation

Kiwi Spirit underway

We should note that Stanley Paris, after a bit of a weather delay, finally got away from St. Augustine, Florida, 11 days ago on a solo non-stop round-the-world voyage aboard his custom-built 63-foot cutter Kiwi Spirit. Paris, age 76, is trying to beat the "ghost" of Dodge Morgan by getting around in less than 150 days. He also wants to be the oldest to pull off a non-stop circumnavigation and is trying to do it while burning zero hydrocarbons.

The modern world being what it is, we'll be able to follow Stanley's voyage every step of the way. He's maintaining two blogs (one here and another here), plus he's on Facebook and is carrying a Yellowbrick tracker.

Kiwi Spirit track

Indeed, Stanley is so well connected to the outside world, I see in one recent blog post that his wife has been ringing him up for advice on how to operate the TV remote back home. In the same post, he describes how his power reserve, only eight days into the voyage, has been so low (just 23% of battery capacity) that he's switched off the fridge and freezer, is eating cold food (he has an electric stove, as propane is verboten), has stopped washing dishes, and has denied himself the pleasure of listening to BBC radio. And these, he admits, are only a few of the things he's had to do to conserve power.

This, I suspect, may be where most of the drama of this voyage will unfold. Back in medieval times, of course, anyone trying to save power on a long ocean voyage would install such archaic devices as a mechanical windvane for steering and foot pumps for moving water around, but evidently people as wealthy as Stanley can't be bothered with such mundane technology.

Kiwi Spirit transom

He's got solar panels and wind generators and no fewer than four (count them... four!) state-of-the art hydro generators pasted to his transom, and it will be very interesting to see if these can keep up with the long-term power demands on what seems to be a very sophisticated boat. I will be amused, to say the least, if the straw that breaks the camel's back energy-wise turns out to be a sat-phone call with the missus on how to operate the garage-door opener.

If it comes to that, Stanley won't be in any danger, as he is carrying diesel fuel and an engine, just in case the "green" aspect of his venture does go tits up.

Kiwi Spirit rendition

Kiwi Spirit is a much more aggressive boat than Dodge Morgan's American Promise, and I expect that, barring some major mishap, Stanley will succeed in beating Dodge's Bermuda-to-Bermuda run, though he is currently running a bit behind Dodge, due to a lack of wind. Stanley himself, though old, is remarkably fit, as he is some sort of god or other in the world of physical therapy, so I don't really anticipate problems on that front.

Stanley Paris

Because he is focussed on beating Dodge, who made his 150-day Bermuda-to-Bermuda run in 1986, Stanley, as you can see on the track up there, made a point of rounding Bermuda outbound from St. Augustine and will re-round it before returning there. The official start of his competition with Dodge, off St. David's light, was captured in this thrilling viddy:

And here's another one, even more thrilling IMHO, which depicts the time-lapse construction of Kiwi Spirit at Lyman Morse in Maine:

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