Blind Sailor Achieves Goal of Crossing the Pacific Ocean

Blind Sailor Achieves Goal of Crossing the Pacific Ocean

Mitsuhiro Iwamoto, with the assistance of OCC member, Doug Smith, arrived in Japan on the 20th April after 55 days at sea.

By Daria Blackwell - 22/04/2019

Blind sailor Mitsuhiro Iwamoto said he was “the happiest person on earth” after conquering the Pacific Ocean in a sailboat after nearly two months of sailing nonstop from San Diego. His 12-meter yacht, 'Dream Weaver', arrived in Iwaki harbour, Fukushima Prefecture, shortly after 9 am on April 20, 55 days after setting off from the U.S. West Coast on Feb. 24. His navigator was Ocean Cruising Club member, Douglas Smith, an American who has been a longtime resident of Japan.

Iwamoto had attempted the passage once before in June of 2013, sailing out of Onahama Port in Iwaki with Jiro Shinbo, a TV anchor, bound for San Diego. But they collided with a whale shortly thereafter, and the duo were rescued by the Japanese Self-Defense Forces when their boat capsized and sank. “Six years later, I finally could achieve my dream,” he said.

Doug Smith, who joined the OCC in 2018 as an Associate Member with limited sailing experience, took this opportunity to learn and complete his 1000-mile qualifying passage for Full Membership with seasoned sailor Iwamoto.

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