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OCC Member Bill Hatfield secures World Sailing speed record

by Daria Blackwell 16 Mar 14:31 UTC
Bill Hatfield © Ocean Cruising Club

On Saturday, the 22nd February, Bill Hatfield became the oldest man to sail around the world solo and non-stop. But Bill is not only the oldest man to circumnavigate the world solo, nonstop and unassisted at age 81, he's now also secured two official records regardless of age, as confirmed by the World Sailing Speed Record (WSSR) Council on the 11th March 2020.

The WSSR Council announces the establishment of a new World Record Reference Time:

Time: Around the World Westabout. Singlehanded 40ft
Yacht: "L'Eau Commotion". Northshore 38. Monohull
Name: Bill Hatfield. AUS
Dates: 8th June 2019 to the 22nd February 2020
Start time: 02; 04; 10 UTC on 08/06/19.
Finish time: 00; 28; 19 UTC on 22/02/20
Elapsed time: 258 days 22 hours 24 minutes and 9 seconds
Distance: 21600 NM
Average speed: 3.48 kts

Comments: No previous record - hence this will be listed as an "Initial Benchmark Time"

When asked to confirm that this record is regardless of age, Bill wrote, "Yes it's the first Westabout circumnavigation [solo nonstop] from Australia and the first Westabout circumnavigation from any country [solo nonstop] in a vessel under 40 feet regardless of age."

"I really didn't set out for it to be a big media thing. A few people said I must do a blog and, because I did it every day, I rather selfishly thought if I didn't do it everyday people would take seriously any EPIRB activation and I did get a few alerts when I got closer to land than I should have. The girl in black (see photo) is my daughter, Katherine Ann Lambros with whom I race in National Masters rowing regattas in a double scull, the lady on my right is Angie Bell MP, Federal Member for Moncrieff and the upraised arm is that of my grandson Constantine Lambros."

Bill, the Ocean Cruising Club salutes you, your successes, and your endurance and perseverance. The world needs a hero in these trying times, and you've ticked many boxes for us. Thanks for giving us a reason to celebrate, albeit virtually.

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