Jon Sanders, an octogenarian sailing legend on his eleventh circumnavigation of the world, braving the headwinds of a global pandemic and wild weather along the way.
A lifetime of extreme sailing has earned Sanders 12 world records
In 1982, Sanders became the first person to double circumnavigate the world alone. A few years later, he became the first person to sail alone and continuously three times around the world in 1988, traveling more than 71,000 nautical miles. a feat described by Guinness World Records as “the longest period alone at sea during a continuous voyage: 419 days: 22 hours: 10 minutes.”
Nowhere is off-limits to Sanders, who battled icebergs, icy winds and massive waves during a solo double circumnavigation of Antarctica in 1981-82.
Although many have followed him, he was the first. Sanders says he doesn’t set records for fame.
Jon Sanders is close to completing his eleventh circumnavigation of the world on his yacht.
The 81-year-old set sail just over a year ago with his yacht Perie Banou II. In addition to a pandemic hiatus, he battled the worst weather he had seen in decades.
Australian yacht Jon Sanders sailed more than 25,000 miles since he left Fremantle nearly a year ago on a trip to raise awareness of plastic pollution.
“It’s just amazing, this is the eleventh time he’s done this”
He is the only person on the planet who has done this … and at 81 years old.
The trip was going well until the pandemic hit and Sanders had to take refuge on a Caribbean island for three months.
He had three very big storms, and at one point he was sailing with all the sails down to slow the ship with winds of more than 120 kilometers per hour and the high seas crashing into the ship.
The storm also left the sailor without electronics – he toured the last leg in much the same way as James Cook did with paper graphics and a sextant.
“But that’s how he started sailing 60 years ago, so he went back to basics.”
Throughout the circumnavigation, Sanders collected water samples for analysis by researchers at Curtin University in Perth, who hope to build a picture of plastic pollution in the oceans of the southern hemisphere.
His mission attracted sponsorship from billionaires Andrew and the Nicola Forrest Minderoo Foundation, which established the Sea the Future initiative to encourage safer disposal of plastics.