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20 Apr, 2019 09:34

BLIND Japanese sailor completes pioneering non-stop Pacific crossing (VIDEO)

BLIND Japanese sailor completes pioneering non-stop Pacific crossing (VIDEO)

Steering a vessel in the open sea may sound like an impossible task for a blind person, but 52-year-old Mitsuhiro Iwamoto has proven otherwise by completing an impressive non-stop journey across the Pacific.

The Japanese-born sailor who now resides in San Diego reached the port of Fukushima in his 40-foot (12-meter) cutter on Saturday morning – almost two months after he left California. Iwamoto was joined by his friend, a sighted US native Doug Smith, as both men shared the ship’s steering, rigging and navigating duties.


The sailor could not conceal his delight as the ‘Dream Weaver’ boat was greeted in Fukushima after the 14,000 km journey. “I didn’t give up and I made a dream come true. I’m the happiest person on Earth,” Iwamoto said, according to local media.

Iwamoto had every reason to enjoy the moment as his previous attempt back in 2013 failed when a whale hit the vessel off the Japanese coast. The brave traveler may well make his way into the record books as he is apparently the first-ever blind person to cross the Pacific, local media report.

He faced total blindness at the age of 16 but managed to battle his subsequent depression and began to engage in competitive sailing and running. The athlete’s website lists him as participant in the 2012 US Disabled Sailing Championship and the 2012 San Diego Half Marathon.

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With his Transpacific journey dubbed the “Voyage of Inspiration,” Iwamoto intends to raise money for those suffering from vision impairment and to “send a message that anything is possible when people come together.”

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