The first Chinese solo global voyage with an unpowered sailboat has been hailed a success. “Rizhao”, steered by famed Chinese global navigator Zhai Mo, returned to Rizhao yesterday, a coastal city in Shandong province also known as the City of Water Sports. The expedition marked the first Chinese solo global voyage with an unpowered sailboat.
Zhai started his lone global journey aboard the 1.2-meters-high, 3.85-meters-wide unpowered sailboat from the Rizhao World Yacht Race Base on January 6, 2007.
After nearly two years, “Rizhao” drew a circle along the globe, sailing over 33,400 nautical miles and crossing the Indian, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It passed by more than 40 countries and regions and arrived at Sanya, a coastal city in Hainan province, on February 12, 2009. After maintenance and visits in several other cities off China’s eastern coast line, “Rizhao” finally docked in its hometown on August 16.
Zhai now tops the list of Chinese solo global navigators of unpowered sailboats, realizing his global voyage dream. At the welcoming celebration, Zhai was awarded with the honor of “The First Chinese Solo Global Navigation with an Unpowered Sailboat”.
“The meaning of such a voyage goes beyond the navigation itself, and I regard it as a cultural journey, through which, I [will] get well known among local customs and practices,” Zhai said.
Zhai discovered solo navigation also goes beyond romance in reality. He lost control of the sailboat in the Indian Ocean, was tracked by sharks and suffered the threat of hurricanes.
He told China Daily he plans to write a navigation logbook, recording the daily weather, location of longitude and latitude, stories and “my deep thoughts when drifting on the sea”.
“I intended to break a record when I planned to make a global voyage at sea at the very beginning, and I really want to see more Chinese people practicing navigation with references to my logbook on navigation,” Zhai said.
“Rizhao’s” voyage will be documented in a program called “Cultural Road” by CCTV.