He will stop in Hawaii onKyodo News Service
his 30-foot catamaran, made
of stainless steel beer kegs
SAN FRANCISCO -- Japanese adventurer Kenichi Horie, who departed Sunday on a solo journey to Japan from San Francisco aboard a yacht made from recycled materials, says that facing challenges is one of the most important things in life.
Piloting MALT'S Mermaid II, a 30-foot catamaran made from stainless steel beer kegs and sails made from recycled plastic bottles, Horie plans to reach the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge in western Japan in early July.
"I'm 60 now, but that isn't going to stop me. It's just a passing point," he said.
Smallish and tanned, but possessing clear, penetrating eyes and a calm, natural toughness, Horie is attempting the first solo trans-Pacific venture by a Japanese since he himself became the first man to sail the distance solo in 1962.
Horie's present course is nearly the same as 37 years ago in reverse.
"My purpose was not to enlighten people about environmental problems, but I don't mind if that's how it is perceived," Horie said.
"My motivation comes from wanting to see how many hurdles I can overcome as a yachtsman," he said.
Before departure from the Golden Gate Bridge, Horie stopped at a local San Francisco yacht club where he encouraged Japanese and American children to pursue many challenges and become stronger.
"If you can become stronger, you can become gentler," he told his audience.
Horie plans to stop in Honolulu, where he will give a lecture about the sea via the Internet to Japanese and American children.
Horie's current challenge is his 11th stunt to date.
He has piloted tiny boats, solar-powered boats and paddle boats on his various voyages, succeeding eight of 10 times over the last three decades, including one non-stop, round-the-world trip.
"What drives a person for adventure is deciding what your purpose is, going for it, and the feeling of fulfillment afterward. The charm of nature is secondary," he said.
With their twin hulls, catamaran yachts are generally stable, a fact not lost on Horie.