Australian Bill Hatfield has completed his solo circumnavigation

Australian Bill Hatfield has completed his solo circumnavigation

L'eau Commotion returned home to Brisbane last week, after an amazing 414 days at sea.

By Daria Blackwell - 23/09/2018

Aged 79, Bill Hatfield arrived at Southport Yacht Club on Monday 10th September 2018 after spending 414 days at sea, becoming the oldest solo sailor to circumnavigate the world west-about.

Departing on his adventure on the 23rd of July 2017, Bill’s attempt at completing his journey non-stop aboard his Northshore 38 “L’eau Commotion” was unfortunately interrupted due to vessel damage. Rough seas damaged solar panels, wind generators and cable steering resulting in Bill’s decision for a stopover in Stanley, Falkland Island.

This was Bill’s third attempt at a solo non-stop voyage. The first attempt, in a Mottle 33, failed after damage south of Cape Horn and his return to the Falklands where he sold the boat. His second attempt in the Northshore 38 in 2017, failed just west of West Australia due to rigging problems and having to stop for repairs.

Dedicated to completing the circumnavigation non-stop, Bill plans to make another attempt using the same boat but with a shorter mast as he found himself under shortened sail a lot of the time, suffered a fall from the mast, and speed is not his objective.

The photo was taken the morning he arrived when he was met by his daughter Katherine and grandson Constantine, as well as Susie and Nick Halsey, OCC Regional Rear Commodore. After clearing Customs they helped moved the boat into a berth with Bill on the tiller and Nick operating the gears and throttle down below as the morse cables had ceased due to lack of use!

Bill quickly got a hair cut and a shave, then proceeded to make up for lost meals. "I have now had three steaks in three days to make up for having none in thirteen months. They were all perfect."

Read more about his voyage in his blog via the link below: An (other) attempt to sail non stop Westabout around the world.

Photo: Bill upon arrival being greeted by his daughter and grandson. Credit to Nick Halsey.

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