Reid Stowe said the first thing he hoped to do after getting ashore was take everything off his boat and pressure wash the interior. Lord knows it needed it. After 1,152 days at sea without once touching land, Stowe’s heavy 70-foot schooner Anne was in surprisingly good working condition. But cosmetically, it was a disaster.
I hopped aboard the morning of June 17 down in Sandy Hook, New Jersey, where Stowe had recently cleared customs. From there we’d doublehanded Anne into a fresh northerly, short-tacking our way up to Pier 81 on Manhattan’s West Side.
There was a big crowd, both on the water and ashore, waiting to greet us. The most important members of that crowd were Soanya Ahmad, Stowe’s girlfriend and ex-crewmember, and his 2-year-old son, Darshen, whom he’d never met. Soanya had set out with Stowe back in April 2007, but was evacuated from the boat off Australia after suffering from chronic nausea, which ultimately turned out to be morning sickness rather than seasickness.
In all, Stowe sailed more than two years on his own, and he now holds the following records: longest voyage by a couple (306 days), longest non-stop solo voyage (846 days), longest non-stop voyage (1,152 days). He can also claim a record for the slowest non-stop circumnavigation (he completed only one) and for longest shorthanded voyage made without self-steering gear.
While making his way slowly around the world, Stowe completed two giant GPS drawings—a whale, in the Pacific, and a heart, in the Atlantic, which he dedicated to Soanya.