February 23, 2012

Around the world in 120 days

A 74-year-old Maine resident, originally from New Zealand, hopes to sail around the globe by himself in a Maine-built boat

By Edward D. Murphy emurphy@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

THOMASTON — There's an awful lot of Maine in the Kiwi Spirit.

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Stanley Paris, left, and Lyman-Morse project manager Lance Buchanan stand inside the hull mold of the Kiwi Spirit, which Paris plans to sail around the globe next year.

John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

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Stanley Paris with a depiction of the completed sailboat.

John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

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The sailboat that Stanley Paris hopes will take him around the world -- nonstop and solo -- is being built in Thomaston, by Lyman-Morse Boatbuilders.

Paris, a New Zealander with dual American citizenship, has a home Down East, in South Addison.

And part of the inspiration for his effort is the late Maine businessman Dodge Morgan, who 26 years ago became the first American to sail around the world alone without stopping -- a voyage that took 150 days.

"I should be done in 120 days," Paris said, "or it's going to disappoint a lot of people, because the technology has come a long way" since Morgan set off from Portland in the American Promise in the fall of 1985.

Paris, 74, who founded a university that prepares students for careers in health care, is spending about $3 million on the Kiwi Spirit, which was designed by another New Zealander, Bruce Farr.

He chose Lyman-Morse as the builder, he said, because the yard's owner, Cabot Lyman, is a noted long-distance sailor and the company's workers include sailors who have crewed on America's Cup contenders.

Paris showed off the Kiwi Spirit on Wednesday. The boat is in three pieces in two buildings at Lyman-Morse: the hull and the deck in one building, and the interior -- being built on a mock-up of the hull -- in the other.

At first glance, the 63-foot-long boat looks like an upscale cruiser, with an expansive galley, cabinetry that will hold a washer-dryer combo, three heads with showers, and an owner's stateroom with a platform for the bed.

But those are temporary luxuries. Before he embarks from St. Augustine, Fla., in November 2013, Paris will have the Kiwi Spirit stripped to its essentials, with the generator, engine and propellers removed.

Only one head will remain operable. Heavy equipment, including air conditioning units, will be taken out. The two guest cabins will be stripped, and most of the floor will be removed.

The bed will be taken out and Paris will sleep either in the cockpit, on a pull-down cot in the salon, or in a "survival seat" at his navigation station, which will be fitted with seat belts and a spring-like base to keep the seat stable even if the Kiwi Spirit is rolling in heavy seas. Paris doesn't expect to sleep more than 45 minutes at a stretch.

Paris will be 76 when his voyage begins. Why would he put himself through so much?

"I always look for physical challenges," he said. "That's why people climb and ski and all of that -- you push it to the limit."

Paris embodies that spirit. He has completed the Ironman triathlon in Hawaii. In 1986, the year Morgan completed his sail around the world, Paris swam the English Channel.


Ask Paris what he did for a living that enables him to embark on such challenges, and he says simply that he was a physical therapist. Press him, and you learn that he founded the University of St. Augustine, a college for health care providers with campuses in Florida and California. He retired in 2007.

Paris is attacking the around-the-world challenge differently from the way Morgan did.

The American Promise, which today is tied up at a marina in Kittery, is 3 feet shorter than the Kiwi Spirit will be, yet it weighs more than twice as much.

Paris said he's trading off the American Promise's ability to plow through heavy seas for a boat that's likely to get tossed about more, but will cover a lot more ocean in less time.

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

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At Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding of Thomaston, Stanley Paris gets a bird’s-eye view Wednesday as workers construct the interior of his Paris 63 sailboat below.

John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

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Dodge Morgan stands next to a model of his boat, American Promise. He sailed the boat around the world solo 26 years ago. The Maine businessman died in 2010 at the age of 78.

2005 file photo/Gordon Chibroski

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Visitors board Dodge Morgan’s American Promise in August 2011 during a special Portland ceremony that paid tribute to Morgan on the 25th anniversary of his solo voyage around the world. The boat is now tied up at a Kittery marina.

2011 file photo/Jill Brady

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