The Longest Sea Voyage in History
Reid Stowe (55), a NYC artist/sailor departed land on April 21, 2007, to attempt the longest sea voyage in history, 1000 Days Non-Stop at Sea without re-supplying. He was accompanied by his girlfriend, Soanya Ahmad (23). The longest continuous time on record was 657 days held by the Australian, Jon Sanders after his triple circumnavigation in 1987. The couple had to stock up on everything they would need for the next three years, including food, clothes, technology, and repair supplies. After a close call collision, major repairs at sea, many storms, and Soanya returning to land thereby making Stowe a solo sailor, Reid finally achieved his goal or remaining at sea for 1,000 days but chose to stay out longer finishing the voyage after 1,152 days non-stop at sea without re-supply. On June 17, 2010, after more than three years at sea, more than two years of being out of sight of land, and laying eyes on no one but himself, he set foot on terra firma to a crowd of family and friends in NYC.
The voyage was tracked via satellite with position reports sent daily. The onshore team in NY posted these positions on a map for everyone to follow along in real time. Daily blogs and pictures were also sent to the onshore team to post on the 1000 Days website. Here are some highlights.
LAUNCH – 4/21/07 – Reid and Soanya depart terra firma on the Schooner Anne from Hoboken, NJ.
Day 1 – 4/22/07 – First day at sea.
Day 4 – 4/25/07 – Navy re-routes the Anne to a more southerly course due to military testing.
Day 15 – 5/6/07 – Collision with a freighter. The Anne starts to drift for a month while Reid cuts the bowsprit and rigging and re-cuts sails to fit the new 3-foot bowsprit.
Day 16 – 5/7/07 – Bowsprit work begins.
Day 21 – 5/13-07 – Bowsprit work. Its complicated maneuvering and heavy labor.
Day 34 – 5/25/07 – Bowsprit repair continues, two sails out of four are now able to be used.
Day 40 – 6/1/07 – Three out of four sails are up and propelling the schooner forward.
Day 45 – 6/6/07 – R + S catch their first mahi-mahi.
Day 68- 6/29/07 – Giving thanks to Doyle Sails.
Day 74 – 7/5/07 – Thanks to Axis Global.
Day 75 – 7/6/07 – First bottom cleaning. Reid swims under the boat with scraper in hand.
Day 90 – 7/21/07 – Crossed the equator into the South Atlantic.
Day 100 – 7/31/07 – Day 100!
Day 140 – 9/9/07 – Soanya paints repaired bowsprit.
Day 193 – 11/3/07 – Second bottom cleaning.
Day 200 – 11/8/07 – Day 200.
Day 226 – 12/4/07 – Entering the Roaring 40’s. Soanya is nauseous to the point of being bed-ridden.
Day 237 – 12/15/07 – Past the Cape of Good Hope.
Day 248 – 12/26/07 – Soanya realizes she must leave, but there is no land nearby. The next port will have to be in Australia, what should have been one month away, but due to gale after gale was two months away.
Day 276 – 1/23/08 – Optima battery check.
Day 300 – 2/16/08 – The mainsail blows out for the first time. Will Reid and Soanya be able to make the rendezvous off the coast of West Australia?
Day 306 – 2/22/08 – Soanya is safely transferred to land. The manager of the Royal Perth Yacht club, Stuart Walton, came out in his motor boat 11 miles offshore of Perth, Australia to make the rendezvous. They would have done it out of sight of land, but the night before a gale blew and the waves were rough and choppy, less than ideal to go boat hopping in deep waters. That was the first time either Reid or Soanya had seen land in ten months.
Reid and Soanya claim the following records:
1) Longest man and woman non-stop sea voyage. (306 days)
2) Longest time for a female out at sea non-stop. (306 days)
Day 340 – 3/27/08 – Reid passes under Tasmania, he is now sewing torn sails after torn sail and will do so for the rest of the 1000 days.
Day 365 – 4/21/08 – One year at sea!
Day 400 – 5/25/08 – Day 400.
Day 452 – 7/16/08 – Soanya gives birth to their son, Darshen, back in New York City. Reid is in the eastern Pacific trying to catch water.
Day 455 – 7/19/08 – Desalinator fails. Reid hasn’t caught a good rain in months and started using the desalinator to compliment his water stores. Now he has to make do with one gallon of water per day and hope that “catchable” rain falls sometime soon.
Day 475 – 8/10/08 – It finally rains enough to fill all the tanks and Reid now has enough water for at least nine months.
Day 500 – 9/5/08 – Halfway there! And still going strong.
Day 530 – 10/5/08 – Reid completes a conceptual drawing of a whale with the course that he sailed in the Pacific Ocean. The drawing began unintentionally.
Day 592 – 12/4/08 – Third bottom cleaning of the Anne.
Day 600 – 12/12/08 – Headed for the Southern Ocean again.
Day 638 – 1/19/09 – Reid rounds Cape Horn. He is now back in the Atlantic Ocean.
Day 658 – 2/8/09 – Rogue Wave and Capsize! Reid begins the chase for the longest continuous solo sea voyage in history without resupply.
Day 678 – 3/1/09 – Moon, Mars and Humankind. The skipper discusses some of the inspiration for his voyages.
Day 702 – 3/23/09 – 700+ days nonstop at sea. A day in the life. On day 702, Reid discusses his daily routine.
Day 703 – 3/26/09 – The schooner Anne completes her first circumnavigation.
Day 715 – 4/7/09 – Reid and Soanya participate in the CONTACT Space conference on space travel and psychology via their satellite phone.
Day 747 – 5/9/09 – Thanks to Yoga.
Day 749 – 5/11/09 – Oceanic Heart. The Anne completes a path of a heart on the ocean. Reid dedicated the drawing to Soanya.
Day 750 – 5/12/09 – Three-quarters of the way to 1000 days! On Day 751, Reid discusses what’s next after the Heart, and starts to head to the Equator to catch more rainwater.
Day 775 – 6/6/09 – Equatorial Lunch. On the Equator, food supply is holding out well at day 775.
Day 800 – 7/1/09 – 800 days straight nonstop at sea: 1005 days off of shore power, the Anne and it’s skipper still fare well!
Day 801 – 7/2/09 – Pop Exploration. The skipper discusses modern explorers with vision.
Day 807 – 7/8/09 – Roller furling sail gives out.
Day 815 – 7/16/09 – Motor room floods. Propshaft stuffing is service. It’s Darshen’s first birthday.
Day 850 – 8/20/09 – 850 days nonstop at sea.
Day 908- 8/17/09- The Great Blue Heron. A blue heron lands on the boat and goes inside the pilothouse. It became a something of a companion until it passed away.
Day 922- 10/31/09- Shangri-la of the Sea. Reid talks about the ecstasy of being at sea and the special spot he found. He now has more time to paint and is not consumed with boat repairs.
Day 964- 12/12/09- Reid has achieved the longest solo voyage in history breaking Jon Sanders’ record. However the goal has always been 1000 Days Non-Stop at Sea.
Day 970- 12/17/10- The last computer onboard is broken. Updates are now sent via 2-sentence text messages.
Day 1000- 2/8/10- Finally 1000 Days Non-Stop at Sea! But Reid keeps going!
Day 1095- 4/21/10- Three entire years at sea. And still sailing on.
LANDED- Day 1152- 6/17/10- Reid sails into New York City and steps foot on land for the first time in over three years and meets his almost 2 year old son Darshen for the first time. The epic voyage has ended.
Reid claims the following records:
1) Longest non-stop solo voyage without re-supply. (846 days)
2) Longest non-stop sea voyage without re-supply. (1,152 days)
3) Longest non-stop American sea voyage. (1,152 days)
And we keep adventuring, but this time as a family.