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The Challenges of Sailing Solo

Minoru Saito | TEDxTokyo 2012

If the moon had a harbor, Minoru Saito would have already reached it and raised sail for home. He and his steel yacht, the Nicole BMW Shuten-dohji III (his third vessel, all named primarily after a formidable demon from Japanese mythology) have sailed Earth’s oceans for over 265,000 miles. He has circumnavigated the globe solo a Guinness record eight times, and is intent on taking a ninth lap of the planet. Oh, by the way: Minoru’s now 77, and only started sailing when he was 39 years old. His last incredible journey, meant to be seven months long, was done westward against the currents and lasted a thousand days. Not surprisingly, the world has showered him with awards, including the Blue Water Medal in 2006 and the Naomi Uemura Adventure Award in 2011̶the latter out of a field of 207 nominees. If any story could raise the spirits of an entire nation after 2011’s devastating earthquake and tsunami, it is this man’s tale.