Who is Kenichi Horie? 83-Year-Old Becomes The Oldest Person to Complete Epic Solo Pacific Cruise

Kenichi Horie, a Japanese yachtsman, has become the world's oldest person to cross the Pacific in a nonstop solo 69-day voyage on June 4.

After setting sail from San Francisco, California, on March 27, in his 990 kg and 19-foot long sailboat – the Suntory Mermaid III – the 83-year-old ocean adventurer reached the Kii Channel, which connects the Pacific Ocean and Seto Island Sea, between Wakayama and Tokushima prefectures in western Japan, according to people familiar with the project.

In the journey he retraced the same path taken by him when he was 23-years-old, just in reverse this time when he was named the first yacht man to cross the world's largest water body alone with no port calls.

Kenichi Horie
Horie in his Suntory Mermaid III sailboat Twitter

As per Japan Today, 60 years ago Horie sailed to the West Coast city from Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture and completed the journey which earned him worldwide praise, in 90 days without a passport. When he arrived in San Francisco, Horie recalls the then-Mayor of the city George Christopher granted him a visa.

The 1962 voyage was completed with a single radio onboard, no GPS, rice and canned food on a 19-foot plywood boat, the Mermaid. He became so in demand that media interviews were only limited to 20 minutes per outlet, according to the Gadsden Times.

Horie later went on to author a book describing his fascination with the art of sailing and his solo trans-Pacific journey that became a best seller, titled, Koduko: Sailing Alone Across the Pacific.

Kenichi Horie
An picture of Horie when he came to San Francisco in 1962 on the left Twitter

In the current journey, the Suntory Mermaid III was equipped with solar panels for electricity and a satellite phone through which Horie could remain in contact with his family and staff. When Horie was en route to Wakayama nearing his goal to cross the Pacific, he talked about a few challenges confronted in the voyage to CNN via the satellite phone and also mentioned calling his family every day.

"If I didn't call at least once a day they'd worry," he said.

With no port calls made during this trip, Horie was spotted near Hawaii's Oahu Island on April 16 before he completed the journey on June 4. The 83-year-old has plans to continue his adventures on sea until he becomes a centenarian, CNN reported.

Kenichi Horie
Horie's journey tracked 50 days after his departure from San Francisco on 13 May Twitter

"I didn't think I'd be sailing at 83 but I'm still healthy and I didn't want to miss this chance. Challenges are exciting so I'd like to keep trying," he said.

Known as Japan's most famous yachtsman, Horie is scheduled to attend a ceremony in Nishinomiya city of Hyogo prefecture as his sailboat will be transported to its home port in the city's Yacht Harbor.