A 52-year-old Japanese man has become the first blind person to sail across the Pacific Ocean. He had help from his friend.
Gist: Japan’s 52-year-old Mitsuhiro Iwamoto has become the first blind person on record to cross the Pacific Ocean non-stop. Iwamoto completed the 14,000-kilometre journey from US’ San Diego to Fukushima in Japan in around two months with the help of an American navigator. This was his second attempt after his first voyage failed when his yacht hit a whale and sank.
Mitsuhiro Iwamoto became the first blind person on record to cross the Pacific Ocean by boat on Saturday, local media reported.
“I didn’t give up and I made my dream come true,” Mitsuhiro Iwamoto was quoted by Kyodo News in Japan as saying.
The man arrived at the port in Fukushima on Saturday, roughly two months after he left California. “I’m home. Thank you,” he quoted as he greeted his welcome party.
Mr. Iwamoto completed the 14,000 kilometer Pacific crossing with the help of Doug Smith, an American navigator whom Iwamoto called his “Seeing Eye Doug.” He offered verbal assistance with wind directions.
Iwamoto lost his sight at age 16, he made the trip to raise funds for charity, including initiatives to prevent diseases causing blindness. An online crowdfunding campaign raised $4,300 in support of the journey.
Iwamoto is an experienced sailor, having competed in the US and Japan for more than 10 years. He first attempted the voyage in 2013, but it was cut short when a blue whale collided with his yacht and sank it.