Today in Transportation History – 1986: The Start of a Solo Triple Circumnavigation of the Globe

Jon Sanders set sail from the port city of Fremantle in the state of Western Australia for a planned record-setting series of voyages across the globe on board his 44-foot yacht Parry Endeavour. Sanders, who was born in Western Australia’s capital city of Perth in 1939, aspired to circumnavigate the world a total of three times on his own and without any stops en route.

Sanders – with plenty of food, water, and fuel stored away on Parry Endeavour – headed westward on the first of his three circumnavigations. He completed this round-the-world trip on January 29, 1987, and, with a crowd of more than 3,000 people gathered at Fremantle to cheer him on, headed eastward for the second circumnavigation. Sanders finished this leg of his three-part voyage on September 14, 1987, and again set sail from Fremantle in an easterly direction for the last of these consecutive circumnavigations.  Sanders’ extensive and ambitious journey came to an end on March 13, 1988, when he made it back to Fremantle. His total time at sea had been 657 days, 21 hours, and 18 minutes.

Upon completing his third circumnavigation, Sanders was given a hero’s welcome. He proclaimed during this celebration, “After all the calms and fickle winds, after all the tempestuous gales – frightening sometimes – after clearing mighty Capes – more than once – after crossing a lot of oceans more than once, after hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of days at sea – 658 in all – you can imagine my moment, you can imagine my hour, when I stood on the cockpit ladder step and looked forward as I have done so often before and there dead ahead of the yacht was the Rottnest Island Lighthouse.” He added, “Home, once more.”

Sanders achieved his goal of establishing the world record for a triple solo, non-stop circumnavigation. His voyage, which covered 71,023 nautical miles altogether, also marked the longest-ever distance continuously sailed non-stop by any vessel. In 1991, Sanders was inducted into the Single-Handed Sailors’ Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island.

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