The First Circumnavigation (25 May 1986 – 29 January 1987)

The first leg of Sanders’ voyage was intended to go westward round the Cape of Good Hope, cross the Equator, then go round Cape Horn to Fremantle where the yacht would do a lap of the America’s Cup course in 1987. To qualify as a ‘true’ circumnavigation, according to the Guinness Book of Records, the sailor must go above the Equator for at least 24 hours. Originally, the voyage was scheduled to turn at Cape Verde above the Equator but Sanders’ radio mentor Jack Seabrook suggested the turning point be the Islands of St Peter and St Paul as this would save 10,000 nautical miles.

Sanders had promised his sponsor Kevin Parry that he would sail past the America’s Cup course off Fremantle on Thursday 29 January 1987, two days before the final match. He had requested that the Kookaburra‘s chase boats escort the Parry Endeavour across the Cup course to ensure that no one attempted to board the yacht. Had someone boarded the yacht, it would have disqualified his record attempt at a solo, non-stop triple-circumnavigation.

Sanders arrived in Fremantle at approximately 8.30am with two chase boats alongside. He was joined by the Sutherland, Parry’s power yacht, which carried media representatives. Sanders had a brief chat at sea with a group of people including Royal Perth Yacht Club Commodore Alan Crewe and Parry officials. Spectator craft included the Royal Perth Yacht Club’s Part VI, the Perie Banou skippered by Colin Sanders and the John Curtin which had WA Premier Brian Burke and Curtin Vice-Chancellor Don Watts on board. A crowd of more than 3,000 had assembled to wish Sanders well on the next leg of his voyage.

Fremantle Post Officer Frank Reid used a jet-powered chase-boat to deliver three bags of mail to the Parry Endeavour. This mail was vetted by Australia Post, Curtin University, Parry Corporation and Colin Sanders to ensure it did not contain any food or equipment that would help Sanders on his voyage. Although the rules of the Guinness Book of Records allowed the delivery of letters and newspapers, Sanders decided against further mail deliveries in the second and third circumnavigations. (Source Project Endeavour)