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Japanese Man Becomes Oldest Person to Sail Solo Across Pacific

Japan's Kenichi Horie is seen on his sailing boat after his trans-Pacific sailing, at Osaka Bay, western Japan, Saturday, June 4, 2022. (Kyodo News via AP)
Japanese Man Becomes Oldest Person to Sail Solo Across Pacific
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A Japanese man has become the oldest person to complete a solo, non-stop sailing trip across the Pacific Ocean.

Eighty-three-year-old Kenichi Horie returned to his home port off Japan’s western coast on Saturday. His trans-Pacific trip began in San Francisco in late March. It took 69 days to complete.

Horie spent the night aboard his 6-meter-long sailboat before he was welcomed back Sunday by community members and supporters at the port of Shin Nishinomiya.

Upon arrival, Horie took off his hat and waved to the crowd from his boat. Later, he met with supporters and was presented with flowers. “Thank you for waiting!” Horie said.

He had carried a supply of medicine in case he got sick. But he said the only things he used during his more than two months at sea were eye drops and Band-Aids.

“That shows how healthy I am,” Horie said. “I’m still in the middle of my youth.”

Horie added that it felt like the trip had “burned all my body and soul.” But he said he is still ready for more exciting experiences. “I will keep up my work to be a late bloomer."

Horie told reporters that setting the record for the oldest person to complete the trip was a dream come true. He said it brought happiness "to have been able to make a challenge as a real goal and safely achieve it, instead of just holding onto it as a dream.”

“I want to be a challenger as long as I live,” Horie added.

It 1962, he became the first person in the world to sail a solo non-stop trip across the Pacific from Japan to San Francisco. Sixty years later, he traveled the opposite path.

Soon after leaving San Francisco, Horie faced stormy weather. But conditions improved after that and he was able to reach Hawaii sooner than expected in mid-April.

Horie said he had struggled toward the end of his trip with pushback from some strong waves. In an internet report Friday, he said he felt close to success, but was exhausted.

Horie has completed several long-distance solo trips. In 1974, he sailed solo around the world. His latest success was the first trip since 2008, when he traveled solo on a wave-powered boat from Hawaii to Japan’s Kii Strait.

Despite sailing on his own, technology helped him keep in touch with family members and others throughout the trip. “I imagine my next voyage would be even more fun,” he said.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

The Associated Press reported this story. Bryan Lynn adapted the report for VOA Learning English.

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Words in This Story

solo – adj. done alone by one person

Band-Aid – n. a brand name for a small piece of cloth or plastic that sticks to the skin to cover and protect small wounds

soul – n. the part of a person that is not their body and which some people believe continues to exist after death

late bloomer – n. someone who becomes good at something at an older age in life

challenge – adj. a difficult task or problem; something that is hard to do

achieve – v. to get by means of hard work

exhausted – adj. extremely tired

voyage – n. a long trip, especially by ship