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Randall Reeves to become first human to circumnavigate American, Antarctic Continents in one season

by Daria Blackwell / OCC 14 Oct 2019 21:58 UTC 19 October 2019
Randall Reeves and s/v Moli are expected to return to San Francisco after their historic circumnavigation of the Antarctic and American continents © Ocean Cruising Club

One year ago, a lone sailor departed San Francisco for a first-ever circumnavigation of both the American and Antarctic continents in one season. The route has taken him through all of the world's oceans, approaching both poles and rounding Cape Horn twice, in a world's-first feat known as The Figure 8 Voyage. No one has done this before—and the few previous attempts have met with failure.

By Randall Reeves' projected return on October 19, 2019, he will have sailed nearly 40,000 miles, or roughly twice the circumference of the globe, surviving alone for months at sea, maintaining his vessel under all conditions, often navigating by sextant and starlight and solving problems on his own. Since the route is a race against time and weather at both poles, Reeves had to provision his boat with all the food, water and fuel he would need for the year.

Reeves is no stranger to the treachery of this voyage. His first attempt, embarking in the fall of 2017, was met with a confluence of challenges-- he ultimately limped into port in Tasmania, navigating with water-logged paper maps and a sextant, putting an end to his first attempt.

His vessel, which he's named Moli (or "Mo"), is a 45-foot aluminium sloop with no hot water or refrigeration, no powered winches or sails, and very limited solar power. He's gone for months at a time without regular phone contact and limited data uplinks. He even went more than two hundred days without changing his pants.

Reeves is unusual among solo sailors in his passion for sharing his experiences. Using recent advances in satellite technology, he communicates in real-time from the deep ocean to an engaged community of "virtual stowaways" through blogs and vlogs, Facebook and Twitter chats and voice interviews.

Randall has reached the coast of California and is now on a meandering approach to San Francisco, expected to pass under the Golden Gate Bridge on Saturday, the 19th of October. Event details are posted on the Figure 8 blog here.

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