Bill Hatfield achieves his dream of solo non-stop circumnavigation

Bill Hatfield achieves his dream of solo non-stop circumnavigation

On Saturday, the 22nd February, Bill Hatfield became the oldest man to sail around the world solo, non-stop and unassisted.

By Daria Blackwell - 22/02/2020

The 81-year-old completed his eight-month journey on Saturday morning, sailing into The Spit on the Gold Coast in his 38-foot Northshore yacht L'Eau Commotion. He was greeted at Southport Yacht Club by cheering friends and family who had anxiously followed his journey since he set off on June 8, 2019. Total distance sailed was ~30555 NM in 259 days.

OCC Regional Rear Commodore Nick Halsey writes, "A very successful day was had, especially by Bill. We met him 10 miles offshore and then joined the small group of boats who escorted him in. A heavy shower at the last moment caused a huge wind shift but passed and allowed him to sail across the finish line."

After clearing Customs and Immigration, several interviews took place with television stations and newspaper reporters. RRC Nick Halsey presented Commodore Simon Currin's letter of congratulations to Bill on behalf of the Ocean Cruising Club, by which he was very impressed. Angie Bell, the Member of Parliament for the area of the Gold Coast Seaway where Bill was arriving, was there to meet him and presented a letter from the Minister responsible for both Sport and Senior Australians.

Also, Nick ordered Bill a steak sandwich which was thoroughly enjoyed! Bill had written in his blog about how he had dreamt of a big juicy steak as he neared completion of his mission.

Notes of congratulations were forwarded by others including Senator the Hon David Fawcett, who had followed Bill’s journey with great interest as a fellow NS38 owner and long-time sailor.

Bill's arrival was celebrated by family, friends and well-wishers and graciously hosted by Southport Yacht Club. His daughter Katherine Lambros and grandson Constantine were overjoyed at Bill's safe return. Katherine noted, "You say goodbye to him and you honestly think you're never going to see him again." Nick Halsey commented, "To do that when you're young is remarkable, but to do it at his age is phenomenal."

The former fisherman from Bundaberg has said he'd been dreaming of this achievement since he was seven years old. Though he professed that it was mostly luck that had enabled his successful completion this time, those who sail around the world alone know it takes a fair bit of seamanship.

As to what's next? Bill replied, "My daughter has threatened to get the dog onto me if I go sailing straight away, so I'll spend some time here," he said.

Three TV stations were on hand and have aired clips of his arrival and interviews (see links below).

Photo: Credit Nick Halsey (OCC RRC Australia) accompanying Bill Hatfield on L'Eau Commotion on approach to the Gold Coast 22 Feb 2020.

For additional photos, interview and video clips, please follow the links below.

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