Skip to comments.Duo planning 1,000 days alone at sea
Posted on 04/21/2007 11:50:52 AM PDT by Abathar
HOBOKEN, N.J. - He's a veteran of long-distance sailing voyages in all kinds of weather. She's never sailed outside the Hudson River.
But together, 55-year-old Reid Stowe and his 23-year-old girlfriend, Soanya Ahmad, are embarking on a voyage that they intend to take them three times around the globe and last 1,000 days and nights nonstop, with no port calls for supplies or a walk on solid ground.
They were ready to set sail Saturday aboard his 70-foot, two-masted schooner, named the Schooner Anne, from a Hudson River marina in North Hoboken.
"This will be my first time sailing ever except for up and down the Hudson River," said Ahmad, the New York-raised daughter of immigrants from Guyana.
"I haven't gotten seasick so far," she said with a grin.
She may be tested when the yacht rounds South America's Cape Horn on the way from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean, an area infamous for waves as high as 100 feet, as well as icebergs.
If they succeed, they say their time away from land will surpass the 657 days spent at sea by Australian Jon Sanders, who circumnavigated the globe three times from 1986 to 1988.
Stowe planned a course that initially will take them into the north Atlantic to take advantage of wind and currents, then head south of the Equator. Past the Equator, before passing Cape Horn, he mapped out a course that would loop around the south Atlantic, in the outline of a heart.
"This is a voyage that takes heart," he said.
Provisions were packed into every nook and cranny of the schooner's hull, everything from rice and beans to tomato sauce, pasta, pesto, olives, chocolate, spices and about 200 pounds of parmesan cheese. Sprouts were already growing in boxes for salads.
The rest of their food will be caught fresh from the sea automatically. Two contraptions at the stern will troll for fish, and when one is caught the line is rigged to alert them by tapping a piece of wood.
Rainwater will be collected in tarps stretched over the deck, and a desalinator will turn sea water into drinking water.
Crammed in alongside the food was a ton of coal and 100 boxes of firewood for the antique French iron stove that keep them warm, plus diesel oil for a motor.
Solar panels will generate enough electricity for the satellite communication and navigation system and for lights. Along with sending and receiving e-mail via satellite, they expect to post photographs, videos and blogs on their Web site.
They also have a small library of books on yoga, meditation and spirituality, as well as art and history, plus the collected works of Joseph Conrad and every book written by Herman Melville, including "Moby Dick."
Along with a well-stocked medical kit, they both learned how to clean and stitch cuts and to set broken bones.
The cost of the journey is covered by corporate and individual donations, plus donations of food, the sails and marine ropes.
Their message to the world, they say, is that any human being can persevere and survive while staying inspired and in love.
"It's inside everyone to go into the unknown, to sail by the sun and the winds of fate. Our ability to control our minds will allow us to do this," said Stowe"If we had to come back for cheeseburgers, we wouldn't be able to do it."
They met four years ago when Ahmad, a college student, was photographing Manhattan's waterfront where the schooner was docked.
"He invited me aboard. It was my first time on a sailboat," said Ahmad. "Reid was looking for someone to go with him. At first, I said no, but then ..."
Her parents, both New York accountants, "are a little terrified," said their only daughter, the oldest of three siblings.
The voyage is formally called "1000 Days at Sea: The Mars Ocean Odyssey," since Stowe compares it to an expedition to Mars, which would involve about the same time in isolation.
He has sailed to every continent in the past four decades, including Antarctica. "I have the tools, I have the experience," he said.
One of those previous voyages was a 200-day trip with his wife in 1999. They're divorced now, but she gave him and Ahmad a life raft for their journey, and planned to be on the dock to wave goodbye Saturday.
Stowe said the journey offers lessons even to someone who will never go out to sea or someone like Ahmad, who grew up in New York City: "You learn to be present to the situation, to look and see what's happening, and to do what needs to be done."
Adds Ahmad: "On a sailboat, you have to be present in the moment, in the now. Or there's no tomorrow."
That does not look like the same guy.
I’m betting the journey will last 300 days or less and will involve some nations taxpayer dollars to rescue them.
Hey - Who moved this to extended news, current events?
Well, if you have to look at someone for 1000 days, he could do a LOT worse....
"Schooner Anne is a low-maintenance vessel designed to be repaired at sea. Her hull is made of steel meshing and fiber glass which is one of her most unique points...."
If it sinks it'll be his doing. I think she'll go nuts long before then.
I say her postings to their website will be rather 'limited' by day 20. Certainly in the 3rd person by day 60 -if not at day 1.
They didn’t mention soap or deodorant. On an nearly three year voyage you are gonna need some soap and deodorant.
Oh yeah; and toilet paper.
Hope they didnt take any bananas along.
Why not? I’m sure I’ll regret asking...
And he probably won't be able to stand the sound of her voice by the same time.
No beer?? Bon voyage, guys.
A good friend of mine offer some advice on buying a nice sailboat (pre-internet)
Go to Panama he said. Most of the couples never make it thru the canal. The wife is tired or sick of the small boat, or no kids/grandkids/no shopping/bad food/storms/no mail or telephone and so on.
And she gets on the first thing smoking headed North. Dad can’t continue on his own as the boat is too big - so they sale at a loss.
OTOH, many have done this quite successfully - Jim and Molly Moore, Kellogg and Diana Fleming, Suzanne & Jim Macfarlan (and family), Paul Howard and Fiona McCall, Alvah & Diana Simon ( a year frozen in the Arctic ice), and on and on.
http://www.cruisingworld.com/index.jsp has many of the stories and is a good magazine, lots of recipes great for RVs.
What a cool idea - I wonder where the RV’s get sold?
An amazing stock of birth control pills, condoms , TP and sanitary napkins will leave no room for anything else.../sarc
apologies to Hemingway
It could happen. The guy *is* old enough to be her dad. Or not.
Good call! I give the boat 4 months. I hope it’s not wood frame.
I’m sure he won’t be able to stand up after 1,000 days of that... Not at his age.
I am very envious!