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At 83, veteran Japanese adventurer becomes oldest to sail solo across the Pacific

TOKYO (AFP) - An 83-year-old yachtsman arrived in Japan early on Saturday (June 4) after a solo trip across the Pacific, becoming the oldest person to achieve the feat.

Famed ocean adventurer Kenichi Horie's arrival in the Kii Strait off western Japan capped a two-month trip that started from a yacht harbour in San Francisco in March.

It was the latest seagoing achievement by the Japanese octogenarian, who in 1962 voyaged from Japan to San Francisco at age 23, becoming the first person in the world to sail alone across the Pacific.

The public relations team for his most recent voyage said Mr Horie's Saturday return to Japan made him the world's oldest person to pull off a solo, non-stop crossing of the largest and deepest ocean on Earth.

"I'm about to cross the finish line," Mr Horie wrote on his blog on Friday (June 3), after what he described as a three-day battle with the pushback from a current. "I'm exhausted."

His 1962 Pacific crossing made headlines as he embarked on the trip without a passport, essentially getting to the United States illegally.

Sixty years ago, "I was constantly anxious and stressed that I might get caught… My condition was the worst," he blogged in April. "But this time it's different. I was sent off by many people and have their support through tracking systems and wireless radio. I couldn't be more grateful."

Aside from his 1962 Pacific crossing, Mr Horie is known for sailing around the world solo in 1974 and his longitudinal voyage around the world between 1978 and 1982.

The latest expedition was the first he had undertaken since 2008, when he sailed from Honolulu to the Kii Strait on a wave-powered 31-foot boat.

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