American-based New Zealander Stanley Paris continued to sail despite serious injury - but rigging problems have finally ended the 76-year-old's round-the-world record dream.
Paris, originally from Dunedin, yesterday announced he was abandoning his attempted circumnavigation after a "substantial" failure of the rigging system.
He had hoped to set a record for the trip in his custom-built yacht Kiwi Spirit. As well as the fastest, he would also have been the oldest, and the "greenest" to do so.
Paris departed his adopted home at St Augustine in Florida on December 3, and his 44,000 kilometre voyage officially began near Bermuda, on December 7.
His journey faltered last week after he fell while repairing a sail destroyed by storms in the South Atlantic. He suffered suspected cracked ribs and injured his left arm.
"While pulling on some pieces stuck in the shrouds, one piece suddenly gave way and I fell flat on my back on to an extrusion of the deck," he wrote on his blog site.
"The pain just below my left scapula [shoulder blade] was . . . as much as any pain I have ever experienced."
Despite this, he continued sailing.
However, after seeing the photos of the failures and repairs, the president of the yacht's designers at Farr Yacht Design told Paris to "please make the prudent decision and stop".
"I think you have too many substantial problems to head into harm's way," Patrick Shaughnessy told Paris, who posted Farr's concerns online.
"The boom-end failure is a substantial one. The jury-rigged mainsheet arrangement looks very prone to chafe.
"That, combined with the jury-rigged reefing arrangement, leads me to believe that a substantial failure is possible.
"To have this combination of problems in your injured state is inviting disaster. Please make the prudent decision and stop."
Paris said he was now heading for Cape Town in South Africa, about 2700 kilometres away. The boat would be shipped from to Maine, restored, and then put to its intended use as the family cruiser.
After more than a month at sea, Paris said he was "neck and neck" with the progress of the late Dodge Morgan who set the record for the same westward route of 150 days in 1986, at age 54, on American Promise.
He said his injury had no part in his decision to pull back.
"To continue in the face of the sage advice would be foolish in the extreme, and cruel to my wife, family and friends," he said.
"I must now abandon this dream."
- © Fairfax NZ News