William Hatfield, whom everyone just calls Bill, has done a great job: the 81-year-old completed a one-handed non-stop circumnavigation of the world at the end of February. And against the prevailing wind direction: Hatfield sailed all around in an east-west direction. Wilfried Erdmann is the only German sailor who has succeeded in this so far. It took him 343 days from August 2000 to July 2001 for this.
Bill Hatfield did it all around in 259 days. His trip started on June 8, 2019 off Brisbane on the Australian east coast. He first sailed south past his home continent, then over the Indian Ocean, rounded the Cape of Good Hope and finally took a north-westerly course.
Has achieved great things: Bill Hatfield sailed from Australia alone and non-stop around the world
Although the World Sailing Speed Record Council does not recognize age records, according to the current definition, the equator must be crossed at least once when sailing around the world.
Therefore Hatfield sailed until shortly before the Canary Islands on the North Atlantic and only turned south again there - heading to Cape Horn. After crossing the notorious Cape, he still needed a good 80 days to cross the Pacific until he reached “The Spit” on the Australian Gold Coast on the morning of February 22nd. Friends and family were waiting for him at the Southport Yacht Club and greeted him with relief and euphoria.
The former professional fisherman sailed around the world on a Northshore 38 called "L’Eau Commotion". It was not his first attempt to circumnavigate the world one-handed and without stopping. In his attempts in previous years he always got far, but sometimes had to give up because of a rig damage, sometimes because of storms.
The return to Australia
With the successfully completed mammoth cruise, the sailor from Brisbane replaces the British Jeanne Socrates as the oldest non-stop circumnavigator to date. Socrates had finished her circumnavigation in September 2019 at the age of 77 in Victorian on the west coast of Canada. She had sailed around the world in a west-east direction with an anchor stop in New Zealand.