Sailor Plans Record 1,000-Day Voyage

A small garden built into the bow of Reid Stowe's boat provides sprouts and other greens for the sailor's voyages. (Image credit: T. Malik/LiveScience)

Captain Reid Stowe confirmed his plan to sail continuously for 1,000 days starting later this month in an attempt to set a new world record.

In a live internet broadcast today, Stowe and mate Soanya Ahmad gave details of their planned journey aboard the specially constructed 60-ton, 70-foot Schooner Anne, during which time they will not land, take on supplies, nor refuel. Ahmad replaces Alejandro Molina, previously reported as the mate.

With a planned departure date of April 21, according to their website, the two would sail east across the North Atlantic Ocean, south past the equator, then west to the coast of Brazil. While in the South Atlantic Ocean, they aim to sail in a heart-shaped pattern, as an artistic statement. After that the course will not be pre-determined.

The sailors will have a three-year supply of food on board, to be augmented by rainwater and fish caught on lines trolling behind the boat. Fish caught in excess of immediate needs will be salted and dried.

Also, they plan to grow sprouts, the washing of which consumes more water than anything else, said Ahmad. They will also have a small garden on deck, "mainly for greenery," she said, to remind themselves of the land. Many of their supplies have come from small companies that have donated in the form of small anonymous contributions, such as 300 pounds of food-grade salt for the drying of fish.

The isolation and physical challenges of the proposed itinerary have some analogies to a lengthy space mission, Stowe says. He calls the project, "The Mars Ocean Odyssey."

The 1,000 days at sea, if achieved, would top the present record set by Australian Jon Sanders, who spent 657 days circumnavigating the globe three times during 1986-1988.

Stowe picked 1,000 days as a target because it is "a nice round number, reachable but not too far and too impossible," he said, adding that he hoped the voyage would influence people in extending the possibilities of what is achievable.