In March 2022, the 83-years-old set off on what was probably the most impressive of his endeavors so far. He was embarking on a 70-day trip that would cover 6,000 miles (9,656 km). This time, he would sail in reverse, from San Francisco to Japan. The Pacific crossing would be carried out on board Suntory Mermaid III, a yacht that’s only 20-foot-long (6 meters) and that was purpose-built for this trip.
Horie arrived in the Kii Strait off western Japan this Saturday, DW reports. He ended up covering a little over 5,000 miles during the two-month trip, officially becoming the world’s oldest person to have completed a solo crossing of the Pacific – another sailing record under Horie’s belt.
The Japanese yachtsman had no water-making system on board. Instead, Latitude38 reports that he carried 70 two-liters (0.5 gallons) bottles, plus a beer for each day. Also, when asked why he chose to sail from the U.S. to Japan this time, he explained that it would be warmer that way and that he wanted “to wear a T-shirt.”
According to Latitude38, this boat was much sturdier than the original Mermaid. It was cutter-rigged with two headsails, also sporting modern GPS navigation. Like the first two Suntory Mermaids, this one had no engine either and used just one solar panel for power. The previous version, Suntory Mermaid II, was made of recycled aluminum and used wave power to move forward, while the solar panel powered the boat’s electronics.
Kenichi Horie’s solo trip at age 83 not only makes a statement for eco-friendly sailing but is inspiring on a personal level.