Ottawa sailor leaves work to embark on a non-stop solo voyage around the globe
Five hundred liters of water. Ninety kilos of food. One hundred and sixty gigabytes of music. And one tested sextant (a sextant is a mechanical device for determining one's own coordinates).
These are just some of the vital items that sailor Kris Fournier has packed into his small 30-foot (10 meter) sailboat and will live on for the next 300 days. Chris plans to do what no other Canadian citizen has ever done: swim non-stop, alone, the entire globe. (Readers may note that Joshua Slocum, a Canadian by birth, was the first person to circumnavigate the globe solo, but unfortunately it was not non-stop sailing) "I think it will be interesting to watch my journey." 9 aIn August, Fournier will begin his journey down the St. Lawrence River in Montreal on his 41-year-old sailboat Little Sark, which will take several days, then he will make his way to Halifax Harbor (The journey officially begins in Halifax, and in Fournier's plan, he will head south across the Atlantic ocean to South Africa and through the Cape of Good Hope, then sail east across the Indian Ocean, past Australia and New Zealand, and around the southern tip of South America.
The voyage should take about 300 days minimum, he says, or it could take more than a year. "The next time I set foot on earth it will be Halifax," says Fournier. "If everything goes right." Fourth try? Before Fournier, three other sailboatsmen tried to do this, but they did not succeed. Two of the sailors' sailboats were damaged, Fournier says, and were forced to abandon their non-stop voyages. The third, Montreal sailor Gerry Roufs, disappeared in the South Pacific in January 1997 during the annual round the world race.sailboat Vendée Globe. Roves' body was never found, a clear sign that Fournier would face danger on his journey.
Everything can go wrong at any moment. Because I'm walking alone, I'll still have to sleep sometime. Thus, when I'm not on deck, I don't keep my eyes on the situation and can't react in time to danger, so I just have to be ready for anything.
It's understandable that Fournier doesn't know how he's going to cope with sailing for almost a year in isolation, although he says he's generally tolerating loneliness well. Before leaving, he bought a volleyball held by actor Tom Hanks in the movie Cast Away, with his signature.
At the very least, Fournier won't be completely cut off from the modern world: he plans to document his trip online daily, posting 360-degree video and audio to show visitors to his website his experience as a sailor. Little Sark is equipped with a pair of solar panels to charge on-board electronics. And if anything goes wrong, Fournier has no plans to sink with his ship: he has also bought an inflatable kayak equipped with a sail and a rudder, on which he can escape. "If I am to be saved," he says, "I wantI would eat to save myself."