MAY 8 — A 77-year-old Japanese sailor, who was attempting to become the oldest person to sail solo around the world without stopping, was rescued off Tasmania Saturday after his boat was disabled in 30-foot seas.
Ikuo Kashimawas nine months into what was expected to be a 10-month circumnavigation when his 42-foot sailboat, Koraasa77, was hit by a large wave off southwestern Tasmania, news reports say. Disabled and injured, Kashima placed a distress call to Japanese authorities, who alerted Australia’s Maritime Safety Authority.
Kashima was adrift for more than 10 hours before Australian officials located him, say reports. Despite 60-knot winds, a helicopter crew managed to winch Kashima to safety and transport him to a hospital for treatment.
“That was probably one of the most demanding winches the operation has done considering the sea and wind conditions and the remote location,” the helicopter pilot says in a report.
Kashima set off Aug. 6 from Tannowa, Japan. He sailed southeast through the Pacific, rounded Cape Horn and continued pushing east past the Cape of Good Hope. He had expected to complete the circumnavigation in about 300 days.
The record for the oldest person to sail non-stop around the world is held by Minoru Saito, another veteran Japanese sailor. At age 71 Saito completed his circumnavigation in June 2005 aboard his 50-footer, Shuten-Dohji II. Earlier this year he received the Cruising Club of America’s prestigious Blue Water Medalin recognition of his accomplishment.
— Jason Fell