Guo Chuan became the first Chinese sailor to successfully complete a solo circumnavigation when he sailed his Class 40 across the finish line at the Olympic Sailing Center in Qingdao.
Guo, 48, left his hometown on Nov. 18, 2012 and returned the morning of April 5, 2013, making his journey 137 days, 20 hours, 1 minute and 57 seconds long.
His voyage took him twice across the equator, around Cape Horn and Cape of Good Hope and across the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans all in a row. He then crossed the Sund Strait of Indonesia to the South China Sea.
Guo has earned many “firsts,” including being the first professional offshore Chinese sailor, the first Olympic torchbearer to pass the torch by sailboat for the Beijing Games, and the first Chinese sailor to complete the Volvo Ocean Race in 2008-09. “With so few firsts left in this world it is an exciting day when we can celebrate a ‘World First,’” Dee Caffari says on her website of Guo.
The World Sailing Speed Record Council will review the results of Guo’s journey, and if approved, Guo will become the record holder for Class 40 circumnavigation.
After crossing the finish line, Guo jumped into the water and swam to his wife and two sons. “In comparison with 137 days, I find the last few hours particularly hard to withstand,” Xiao Li, Guo’s wife, says.
Guo speaks to the eager media and cheering fans. “I’m so on top of the world. It’s such an unbelievable moment. 137 days ago, I wouldn’t have imagined I could have a moment like this,” he says.
“I want to show my most profound gratitude to my family, my sponsors. But I’d like to say thank you to the wind as well. For the whole journey, wind is always accompanying me. It is fighting with me, it is driving me back home,” Guo says.