STANLEY PARIS: Record-Breaking Non-Stop Solo Circumnavigation, Take Two

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Kiwi Spirit

Let the record reflect (no pun intended) that on November 9, just one day after I finally departed Bermuda aboard Lunacy, Dr. Stanley Paris left Fort Lauderdale on his second attempt to circle the globe non-stop aboard his fancy custom performance-cruising sled Kiwi Spirit. I’m not really sure how I feel about this. I mean, I think it’s great he’s trying again, but I’m not sure I’m interested in the voyage. What I am, frankly, is a little annoyed that Dr. Paris has never given us a coherent account of what went wrong on his last attempt. I don’t see how he can expect us to follow his exploits when he doesn’t bother to tell us what’s really going on.

Check out my last post on Paris and you’ll see I went to a great deal of trouble trying to piece together what happened before he abandoned take one of his voyage in January of this year. The short version is: a) he damaged his boom in an accidental jibe (seems like user error); b) he ruined his staysail furler after a spinnaker halyard wrapped around it (evidently more user error); c) the pin securing the staysail stay to the deck somehow came loose (presumably gear failure); and d) he somehow injured himself, perhaps more than once. None of this was directly explained to us, and there were lots of unanswered questions about when, why, and how it all came to pass. So far the good doctor hasn’t seen fit to address any of them.

Staysail rig

Jury-rigged staysail stay attachment

Furler damage

Wasted staysail furler

His goals remain the same. Paris wants to set a record for oldest non-stop solo circumnavigator (he is presently 77), he wants to break Dodge Morgan’s record time for a non-stop circumnavigation starting in Bermuda (150 days), he wants to set a record for a non-stop circumnavigation starting from Fort Lauderdale (his will be the first), and he wants to be the first to circumnavigate non-stop while burning zero hydrocarbons. To meet his second criteria, as he did the first time, he sailed from Fort Lauderdale north around Bermuda (this time he rounded on November 16) before turning south toward the Southern Ocean.

These are seemingly worthy objectives, though the “green voyage” one does strike me as bizarre. Burning hydrocarbons up the wazoo to build a very sophisticated energy-intensive boat and then struggling to keep the batteries up not burning any more hydrocarbons while sailing around the world running stuff like power winches, electronic autopilots, and water-ballast pumps doesn’t really prove anything, in my opinion. A true green voyage would be aboard a boat that was both built and sailed without burning hydrocarbons, and such a boat would necessarily be much, much simpler than Kiwi Spirit.

Again, as was the case last time, the most interesting bits in Paris’s early accounts of his voyage so far involve the status of his electrical system. Reading his most recent blog post, I was amused to see that his hydro-generators were clogged by the same Sargasso weed that tormented me on my passage to St. Maarten and that his batteries almost went flat as a result. Otherwise, his posts have been mostly anodyne and boring with little real information in them.

Stanley Paris

The man with the plan. But relevant facts are shared only on a need-to-know basis

How can Dr. Paris expect us to pay attention to his voyage if he isn’t willing to document it properly? I’m actually beginning to think he doesn’t care if we pay attention. He has these personal goals he wants to achieve, and someone told him he has to maintain a website, a blog, a YouTube channel, and a Facebook page while pursuing them, so that’s what he’s doing, but it seems his heart really isn’t in it.

The publicity, I mean. I’m sure he feels strongly about the voyage. Probably the best thing we can do is ignore him and let him get on with it.

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4 Responses
  1. Charlie

    Hi Don: Like I say in the post, I am annoyed. I feel if you ask people to pay attention to what you’re doing, you owe it to them to actually tell them what you’re doing. There’s a weird disconnect here. If I felt he was really being disingenuous and was playing us on purpose, then that might be grudge-worthy. But I don’t think that’s the case. My sense is he’s really just clueless. charlie

  2. Ben

    I’m with you charlie. pointless exercise done for little more than one mans selfish glory. The cynic in me says he did the PR part just to be able to get breaks on gear and equipment from sponsors… but I don’t know if he actually has or not, so that’s pure conjecture. but agreed – if you’re going to do the PR/social media bit, then do it properly. it’s not hard. and what the hell else does he have to do out there?

  3. Charlie

    @Ben: I think “selfish glory” is a little harsh. He has set some goals for himself, and I think that’s fine. They have meaning to him. That’s the important thing. But if he wants to share his pursuit of those goals with everyone and make them meaningful for other people, he has to be more forthcoming. charlie

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