Figure 8 Sailor Randall Reeves Completes his Circumnavigation

A West Coast sailor pulls off a historic achievement
Author:
Publish date:
Figure-8-Image-3

It began, as Randall Reeves puts it, as a simple idea—to solo-circumnavigate the Americas and Antarctica in one season, making a double loop of the globe in the shape of a figure eight. It ended last October, when Reeves and his 45ft aluminum cutter, Moli, sailed back into Sausalito, California, at the conclusion of a 39,000-mile epic that encompassed everything from dodging icebergs to Southern Ocean storms to frustrating calms in tropical heat.

The Figure 8 Voyage was one of those increasingly rare sailing feats, one that hadn’t been done before. No one had attempted to circle both Antarctica and the North and South American continents. The near-40,000 mile voyage would have been a challenge for a fully crewed boat, let alone one sailor. In fact, on his first attempt, in 2017, Reeves had to pull into Tasmania for a lengthy pit stop after violent knockdowns damaged his steering gear and wiped out his electronics, before sailing back to San Francisco to prepare to do it all over again.

On his second attempt, all went well. From San Francisco, Reeves sailed down the Pacific and around Cape Horn. He then sailed east along the 40th parallel until rounding Cape Horn for the second time before turning north, entering the Arctic Circle and sailing up the coast of Greenland before heading through the Northwest Passage. Once through, he sailed back to San Francisco.

As Reeves said, this sounds simple enough, but it required meticulous planning, with little margin for error. This was especially true when it came to the Northwest Passage where conditions are near-impossible to predict with any certainty.

Reeves chose the right boat for the attempt. Built-in 1989 for voyager/explorer Clark Stede as Asma, the boat was renamed Taonui by her second owner, Tony Gooch, who in 2002 became the first person to complete a solo nonstop circumnavigation from a starting point in the Americas.

To learn more about Reeves’s historic achievement, go to figure8voyage.com.

Photos courtesy of Randall Reeves

January 2020

Related

FB-BHM-1024

SAIL Black History Month Series: James Forten

James Forten was born on September 2, 1766 in Philadelphia to free Black parents Thomas and Margaret Forten. Forten attended a Quaker school as a young child, then went to work with his father who was a sailmaker. His father died when he was still young, and Forten worked ...read more

sailme-app_ SAIL

5 Ways Sail.me Helps You Monetize Your Boat

Ready to earn some extra funds by renting out your boat or yacht? Sail.me is an interactive service that allows you to monetize your boat in a secure, safe, and easy way. A user-friendly app and website will help you manage reservations, add-ons, and set customized routes to ...read more

VendeePromo

2020-21 Vendée Timeline

As a spectator event, France’s Vendée Globe never disappoints, and the 2020-21 edition of the quadrennial round-the-world race was no exception. From equipment failures to climactic rescues, heartbreaking abandonments and a breathtakingly close finish, this edition, which ...read more

valleytrunk3

BVI Chartering in the Pandemic

The week before I flew out to the British Virgin Islands for a bareboat charter, I was having a few second thoughts. The islands had broken out of their Covid-enforced tourism hiatus in December, but the conditions of entry seemed a little stringent: a negative Covid test within ...read more

01-LEAD-windfarm

Sailing Amid Offshore Wind Farms

Here in Europe, the general feeling about green energy from offshore wind turbines has moved on after an initial surge of general skepticism. Concerns raised over cost, threats to seabirds, wind interference and the rest have to some extent been answered, and it’s hard to argue ...read more

LunaRossaPrada

VIDEO: Luna Rossa Wins the Prada Cup

The show has gone on despite last week's Covid panic in Auckland, and the "underdog" Italians are victorious. After being bested by INEOS Team UK in the round robin section, they seemed to have an uphill battle ahead of them going into the finals. However, the Italians have been ...read more

FB-BHM-Cuffe-2048x

SAIL Black History Month Series: Paul Cuffe

Paul Cuffe was born on Cuttyhunk Island, Massachusetts, in 1759. His mother was a Native American woman named Ruth Moses, and his father was Kofi Slocum, a formerly enslaved man from the Ashanti Empire, located in modern-day Ghana. They had 10 children including Paul. His ...read more

Ryan-Finn

Point of SAIL: Ryan Finn on Solo-sailing a Proa Round Cape Horn

In this episode of Point of SAIL, Principal Editor Adam Cort talks with solo-sailor Ryan Finn, a veteran bluewater passagemaker looking to re-create the famed New York-to-San Francisco clipper aboard the 36ft proa, Jzerro. Although Finn was forced to abandon his first attempt ...read more