Sanders’ arrival in Fremantle

The Triple Solo Sailor blog has commemorated the 30th anniversary of Jon Sanders’ record breaking triple circumnavigation of the world for the past 658 days. Today, on 13 March 2018 marks the 30th anniversary of his return.

CUL00040/1 Photograph by Evan Collis, courtesy State Library Western Australia.

00056_001 Photograph by Evan Collis, courtesy State Library of Western Australia.

Sanders sailed into Fremantle at 10.17am on Sunday 13 March 1988, completing his triple circumnavigation of the world. The voyage took 658 days and he had travelled 70,000 nautical miles.

Parry Endeavour in Fremantle Harbour

00065_001 Photograph by Diana Dunbar, reproduced with permission

The yacht was dressed in the Bicentennial, Curtin University, RAC, Royal Perth Yacht Club and Australian flags. An estimated 350 craft and 130,000 people were on the sea and shore to greet Sanders.

Crowds at Fremantle Harbour

00065_001_007 Photograph by Diana Dunbar, reproduced with permission

WA Premier Peter Dowding presented a welcome speech and a parade was held in Sanders’ honour throughout Perth streets the following Thursday. This day of the parade was proclaimed ‘Jon Sanders Day’ by the local newspapers and the State government gave all WA school children the day off school.

Jon Sanders arriving in Fremantle Harbour

00040_001 Records of Project Endeavour

The Guinness Book of Records recognised him as the first person to single-handedly complete five circumnavigations, and as the first person to single-handedly complete three non-stop circumnavigations. The triple-circumnavigation was the longest distance sailed continuously by any vessel (131,535 km).

After all the calms and fickle winds, after all the tempestuous gales – frightening sometimes – after clearing mighty Capes – more than once – after crossing a lot of oceans more than once, after hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of days at sea – 658 in all – you can imagine my moment, you can imagine my hour, when I stood on the cockpit ladder step and looked forward as I have done so often before and there dead ahead of the yacht was the Rottnest Island Lighthouse. Home, once more.

– Jon Sanders, speaking at the official welcome home celebrations, 13 March 1988.

Jon Sanders stepping off Parry Endeavour

00040_001 Records of Project Endeavour

More recently, Sanders completed his 10th circumnavigation of the world. His mostly solo ‘Swan Song’ voyage was completed at a leisurely pace, departing on Sunday 16 October 2016 and returning on Sunday 11 February 2018.

Jon Sanders on yacht with Curtin teddy bear

Jon Sanders on his yacht with Curtin University teddy bear

Sanders took a teddy bear dressed in Curtin University graduation attire and a Curtin flag on his journey. He came to the JCPML to present these to University Librarian Catherine Clark.

Sanders presenting the bear to University Librarian Catherine Clark

Sanders presenting the teddy bear to University Librarian Catherine Clark

Sanders placing the bear into an archive box.

Sanders placing the teddy bear into an archive box.


Sanders signing the JCPML visitors book.

The teddy bear will be added to the Library’s archive.

Curtin flag and teddy bear

Before the voyage

Return teddy bear and flag

After the voyage

The Third Circumnavigation (14 September 1987 – 13 March 1988)

On the third and final leg of his triple circumnavigation of the world, Sanders journeyed around the Horn, across the Equator and into the Indian Ocean. On Guy Fawkes Day, 5 November, dieseline leaked into the bilge and Sanders had to pump diesel out of the starboard tank to a buck and dump it into the sea. By this time also, Sanders’ videocassette recorder had stopped working and he could no longer view the videos he had taken with him on the voyage. On 28 December the cabin stove stopped making gas and poured out fiery liquid kerosene which filled the cabin with black smoke and stained the roof beams.

During this third leg, Sanders experienced a flare up of a chest complaint called pleurodynia, which is exacerbated by damp and cold conditions. This caused Sanders intense pain in the right side of his rib cage. Indeed, Sanders was plagued by ongoing problems with dampness in the cabin. He had an almost non-stop job of scrubbing mould from the inside of the yacht. To keep his voice box exercised, Sanders spoke his thoughts aloud each day. He kept up regular leg and toe stretching exercises, as well as exercising his stomach muscles. He maintained his general fitness by running on the spot.

Sadly, Sanders’ mother passed away at age 80 on 17 December 1987. As the HF (long distance) radio was not working, his family were unable to notify him of her death until 9 March 1988, a few days before the end of the voyage.

Sanders was originally scheduled to arrive at King George Sound, off Albany, to reprovision then complete his journey to Sydney for the Bicentennial celebrations. However, in keeping with the wishes of Parry Corporation, Curtin University, the Australian Bicentennial Authority and the WA public, the finish line was moved to Fremantle. Captain Roy Marsh from the naval patrol ship HMAS Geraldton met with Sanders just prior to his arrival to outline plans for the welcoming festivities. (Source Project Endeavour)

Day 657 – 10th March 1988

Noon Summary Log

Day: 657
Date: 10th March 1988
Latitude: 34° 22.4′ S
Longitude: 113° 20.8′ E
Wind @ Noon: 35-45 SE
Cloud Cover 6/8
Cabin Temperature: 22°C
Outside Temperature: 19°C
Barometer: 1022



  • Rough & bumpy. Warship "Geraldton" is maintaining station a mile or two to starboard.
  • Spoke with Premier – he wishes me the best of luck, look forward to my arrival.
  • Gales continues. I smell bush fire smoke outside.
  • Eased course & running due north (so as not to get close to land) whilst I sleep.

Source: CUL00058/1


Jon Sanders at Sea
Jon Sanders at Sea
Source: CUL00068/5

Day 656 – 9th March 1988

Noon Summary Log

Day: 656
Date: 9th March 1988
Latitude: 35° 46′ S
Longitude: 110° 22′ E
Water Temperature: 19.2°C
Wind @ Noon: 20-25 SE
Cloud Cover 8/8
Cabin Temperature: 21°C
Outside Temperature: 18.6°C
Barometer: 1021



  • This stove is such an awful pest. I give up – I cannot get the stove going & the cabin is now full of black smoke & smoke stained. Cold meals & drinks from now on.
  • Good contact with HMAS Geraldton in channel 16, spoke with Roy Marsh & Hugh Schmitt. My dear Mum died – oh dear, sad I was not there, I feel awful now.

Source: CUL00058/1

Day 655 – 8th March 1988

Noon Summary Log

Day: 655
Date: 8th March 1988
Latitude: 37° 37.7′ S
Longitude: 109° 20.9′ E
Water Temperature: 18.9°C
Wind @ Noon: CALM
Max Wind /24 hours: 15-18 SSE
Min Wind /24 hours: CALM
Cloud Cover 7/8
Cabin Temperature: 20°C
Outside Temperature: 18.8°C
Barometer: 1026



  • Mentioned on ABC news this morning & just listened to interview between Ted Bull & Jock Seabrook on 6WF re me – good interview. I changed course for Fremantle.
  • Contact RAN patrol vessel will rendezvous with me tomorrow with Capt. Rory Marsh on board

Source: CUL00058/1