Kenichi Horie holds up the Japanese flag on his yacht as he is set to depart from San Francisco on March 26, for Nishinomiya, western Japan, in an attempt to sail solo nonstop across the Pacific Ocean. (Kyodo Photo)


In a 19-foot sailboat, Kenichi Horie left San Francisco on the morning of March 26 for a solo voyage across the Pacific to Nishinomiya, Japan. Wearing all white, the yachtsman said he intends to continue sailing.

“It does get lonely but everyone is rooting for me,” Horie said in an interview before his journey aboard the Mermaid III.

Sixty years ago, Horie was 23 years old when he undertook a 94-day solo journey from Osaka to San Francisco, becoming the first person to make a non-stop solo crossing of the Pacific. He donated his ship, the Mermaid, to the San Francisco Maritime Museum, where it is still on display.

He was briefly arrested when he arrived in the Bay Area as he had traveled without a passport or money and spoke little English. Horie’s journey was widely covered in the pages of The Rafu Shimpo.

In an interview published in The Rafu, Horie said that he navigated with a magnetic compass and a sextant and carried six sails. Asked whether he would do it again, Horie answered in English with one word: “Maybe.”

Since 1962, he has voyaged across the Pacific multiple times on a variety of vessels.

The Osaka native published a book, “Kodoku: Sailing Alone Across the Pacific,” which became the basis for a 1964 adventure film, “Alone Across the Pacific,” directed by Kon Ichikawa and starring Yujiro Ishihara.

Asked whether he had concerns about his latest trip, Horie replied, “Nothing at all. Maybe just being old.”

Kenichi Horie waves as he departs from San Francisco on March 26. (Kyodo Photo)

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  1. You are the fortitude and tenacity essential in all great human endeavor !
    may you have safe passage and fair winds ! You are an inspiration to all. Peace

  2. Safe sailing Mr. Horse…
    You are truly inspirational.
    With very best wishes from the
    West Coast of Scotland…
    John Duncan.

  3. When I was 26 I was inspired by Kenichi Horie and his little Mermaid that was on the hard in Golden Gate Park, I believe. It looked so small then and I wondered at his courage. Now I am 80 and Horiesan is 83. What Courage! (And, what a boat this time!). Sail On!

  4. Hello friend,
    I admired your ability, courage and your adventurous planned trip.
    May the God almighty smile and bless you for the trip.
    I am only in the sixty’s. Yet I only dream such voyage