Thursday, August 03, 2006

Kenichi Horie

In 1962 Kenichi Horie - then 23 years old - completed a solo nonstop voyage from Osaka, Japan, to San Francisco, CA in a 19' sailboat. He arrrived in San Francisco after a 94 day passage, penniless, not speaking a word of English...and was arrested for entering the country without a passport. The media picked up on the story and the mayor of San Francisco freed him from prison, extended a 30 day visa and awarded him a key to the city. He knew a press opp when he saw one.

Now 65, Kenichi is a Japanese national hero...having undertaken a series of solo sails in the intervening years (including two solo circumnavigations in 1972 and 1982) and written a bestselling book called Kodoku (translated into English as "Alone" & made into a movie). He's recieved several international sailing awards, set records and been acclaimed all over the world for his courage and tenacity.

For all of this notoriety, all reports indicate that he remains humble, even self-effacing. Nobody would ever dare peg that lable on Dennis Conner. Not to pick on the big guy...but even in the world of sailing celebrity we can, at times, see our nation's worst attributes amplified.

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