An earthquake, two tsunamis, giant icebergs, towering waves and five typhoons: these may sound like typical challenges for anyone sailing around the world on their own. But Japanese sailor Minoru Saito also had to contend with back pain, a hernia, a knee operation and organizing delivery of his heart tablets – perhaps unsurprisingly, bearing in mind that he is 77 years old.
Last Friday, Mr. Saito broke a series of records and defied all pensioner stereotypes as he sailed into Yokohama port to a hero’s welcome after an epic 1,080-day journey sailing single-handed around the world.
Not only did he his arrival confirm his status as the oldest person to sail around the world, but he is also the oldest to do so the “wrong way” – from west to east – as well as the only person to have circumnavigated the globe alone eight times.
Stepping onto the floating pier and accepting bouquets of flowers, he told the Sunday Telegraph, “I’m very, very happy to be back but it was difficult. It was my longest trip. It went on for months and months and years and years, I had so many problems. But it’s great to be back.”
He added, “I missed a lot of things, mostly cherry blossoms and Japanese food. But I feel very young in both mind and body and I feel I’m in great shape.”
For the complete story, go to www.telegraph.co.uk.