Big Welcome Planned for American Yachtsman at end of Global Trip
St. GEORGE’S, Bermuda (AP) _ A rousing reception awaits American sailor Dutch Morgan in Bermuda this week at the end of his record-breaking round-the-world adventure.
By Tuesday night, Morgan’s 60-foot sloop American Promise was reported less than 500 nautical miles south of the island and was expected to complete the 27,000 nautical mile circumnavigation sometime Friday after 140 days, smashing the current record of 292 days set by Chay Blyth of Britain in 1971 for a solo non-stop sail around the world.
The 54-year-old sailor from Portland, Maine will fire a flare to signal the end of his voyage when he passes St. David’s Head on Bermuda’s eastern tip.
Technically, Morgan completed his circumnavigation 699 miles off Bermuda when his outgoing and incoming paths crossed on Monday. In yachting jargon, Morgan had ″tied his own knot.″
But the voyage is not over officially until he crosses the finish line at St. David’s.
Harborside pub manager David Hillier will rendezvous with the Promise offshore, because her motors are out of service, and tow her to St. George’s harbor.
At Morgan’s request, a meal of a cheeseburger, popcorn and a vodka and tonic - his last meal before setting sail on Nov. 12 - will be brought aboard.
A piper will play from a hilltop as the Promise passes through the narrow harbor entrance. A cannon salute will signal the start of a half-hour of celebrations led by a band of sea cadets and a local drum and bugle corps.
Welcoming celebrations will be transmitted live via satellite to the United States.
After Promise docks, Morgan’s wife, Manny, 42; and children, Hoyt David, 12; and Kimberly Promise, 9, will go on board for a private reunion.
Mrs. Morgan has kept in touch with her husband via a network of amatuer radio operators who have been in daily contact with him for most of the voyage. A special home computer link with the Argos satellite system has provided hour-by-hour information on his location.
Morgan, owner of the weekly Maine Times newspaper, had originally planned to begin and end his trip in Portland. He left Maine’s largest city on Oct. 14, 1985 carrying 1,600 pounds of food and packaged drinks, 650 pounds of tools and spare parts and 275 pounds of clothing.
But he was forced ashore in Bermuda 10 days later, after the automatic pilot system aboard the $1.5 million boat failed. Morgan set out from Bermuda on Nov. 12, 1985, but the unscheduled stop meant he had to restart his voyage.
Under rules set by the publishers of the Guinness Book of World Records, a sailor ″must not step ashore above the high water mark, must not accept help from anybody or have direct contact with people ashore or afloat, must not take aboard spares of any kind, or receive any food, water or other supplies.″
The first to sail solo around the world non-stop was Englishman Robin Knox- Johnston in 1969, who completed the journey in 313 days in a 32-foot ketch.
Dutchman Pleun Van Der Lugt sailed around the world alone in 1981-82 in 286 days. It would have been a non-stop record but he took on board photographic supplies off Cape Town and a birthday present of fresh bread and vegetables off Bluff, New Zealand.
Morgan is chairman of Controlonics Corp., the Westford, Mass., electronics company he founded in a rented garage in 1971. He sold the company to Dynatech Corp., in 1983 to finance his round-the-world sail.