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71-year-old skipper makes history

OCT. 21 — Ardell Lien, 71, of Minnesota, sailed his 27-foot boat into San DiegoHarbor on Thursday, completing a 31,310-nautical-mile voyage around the world that took Lien 17-1/2 months. In doing so, Lien became the first heart and kidney recipient to accomplish a solo circumnavigation.

“Planning for his trip gave him hope — something to hold onto and look forward to while he was on the waiting list and then during recovery after surgery,” says his wife, Maureen.

Lien underwent transplant surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., in January 2003. He set off from San DiegoMay 5, 2005.

Lien stopped at 19 ports along the way. He says he undertook the voyage to raise awareness about organ donation.

-- Rich Armstrong