LIONHEART JOURNEY

QUICK FACTS

  • Solo, nonstop & unassisted sail around the world
  • 328 days alone at sea
  • 2 litres of fresh water per day
  • Sighted land four times
  • Arrived home aged 18 years and 66 days

On October 31 1999, I sailed my 34 foot yacht Lionheart across the finish line into Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne, becoming the youngest person to sail solo, nonstop and unassisted around the world.

My journey involved taking all my food and water for nearly 11 months, steering a course through Southern Ocean gales, past Cape Horn, North up the Atlantic to the antipodal point at the Azores Islands. Then back down South under Africa and across the Indian Ocean to Australia. I saw land 4 times, mostly I had the moon, sun and seas birds to share it with.

My yacht was no stranger to world circumnavigations. A Sparkman & Stephens 34 foot cutter-rigged sloop. The same designed yacht was sailed around the world by Jon Sanders, David Dicks and most recently Jessica Watson. She is a well proven design.

Lionheart was decked out to be self sufficient regardless of any damage the elements could cause. I relied on solar and wind power to charge my batteries. I had spare rigging and swages to make repairs underway, a wind vane to steer by wind and water, and a spirit stove to warm the cabin and heat my meals. Because the record was to complete the journey unassisted, I couldn’t stop anywhere for repairs or stores so everything had to be considered before the start. I forgot to take a comb and had to used a fork to free the knots in my hair!

There is surprisingly little fish in the middle of the ocean where it can be up to 5km deep! Despite my constant efforts I snagged a total of 6 fish during the voyage – still a welcome supplement to the usual freeze-dried meals and canned corn. I had a stack of CDs to listen to music and my guitar, which in hindsight should have been nylon stringed – steel strings rust and cut into fingers!

The trip was made possible by my mother who committed the ultimate trust in a son when she re-mortgaged the family home to buy the yacht, and then I was able to get sponsorship for all the other bits of equipment and stores. My main sponsorship, other than my family, came from Matthew Gerard, managing director of Mistral, an Australian electric goods company.

From the departure in Melbourne (1), the antipodal point (the exact opposite side of the world) must be passed, which was a location close to the Azores Islands (11)

PRE LIONHEART

1995

My love for the sea began in 1995 when my father introduced my brother and I to small sailing catamarans. The three of us sailed over 1000km along the North Queensland coast and soon after I wrote my first ever adventure story. I was immediately hooked!


1997

Two years later my brother and I set off on a kayaking expedition around the islands of  Papua New Guinea, without parents. Together we raised sponsors and took a video camera to film our 5 week adventure kayaking along New Ireland from Rabaul to Kavieng.


1998

Instead of year 11 at school, I joined the crew of Imajica sailing a 40′ yacht from the Caribbean to Tahiti via the Galapagos and Marquesas Islands. It was my first taste of ocean sailing and the preparation for the biggest adventure to come. Five months after flying home from Tahiti I set off aboard Lionheart, in December 1998.


Resources

1000km on a 14 foot Catamaran – Article

Half a World Away – Article

Lionheart Press Area – Image Downloads