St. Augustine man sailing around the world alone | News

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St. Augustine man sailing around the world alone
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ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Dr. Stanley Paris is a living essay on carpe diem.

On Saturday, the 76-year-old will set sail from St. Augustine bound for a trip around the planet.

And he's going to do it all alone.

"The bucket list is too long, I have to shorten it down," he said.

Paris, the founder and chancellor of University of St. Augustine, has competed in Ironman events, and swam the English Channel twice.

He sits on the deck of the Kiwi Spirit, his 63-feet, 8-inch sailing vessel, very relaxed, chatting calmly.

You'd think he was deciding whether to take his boat out for a cruise around St. Augustine harbor, or staying tied up to his dock to enjoy the view he has of downtown.

Considering he's about to embark on something that's never been done before, you may wonder if he's just acting that way.

"Do you think I should be tense?" he asked, right before breaking out into laughter that made it pretty obvious he wasn't faking the calm.

"I've got nothing to be frightened about," he said. "Fear is when you don't know. I think I'm pretty well prepared."

He's sailed around the world before, but with a team.

This will be the first time he's ever attempted to do it solo.

It's a feat that has been done before, but Paris will be charting new territory considering his age.

"I'm 76, so I'm the oldest person to ever do this. I'll get that record if I even finish."

But he hopes to more than just finish, he hopes to do it faster than anyone ever has before.

The current solo circumnavigation record is held by Dodge Morgan at 150 days, 6 hours and 1 minute, beginning in Bermuda.

Paris hopes to do the same trip, about 27,000 miles, between 120 and 130 days.

He also plans on being the first person to ever do it without using any fossil fuels for power or propulsion.

He says no one has ever tried it without using hydrocarbons. 

So he has solar panels, wind turbines and even hydrogenerators --turbines that generate power when moved through water-- to power his electrical equipment.

It's like he has thought of just about everything, though he says even with emergency backups, thinking of everything is impossible.

"There's a 3%-5% chance something serious could happen out there," he said. 

"But after all, I'm 76 so there's an 8% chance I won't live through next year anyhow. The odds aren't that bad, so you may as well go out and try it."

He's a floating example of living life to the fullest, and has a river of quotes that a desk jockey could post on a cubicle wall, while Paris is out sailing to his dreams.

"Life is short. We don't come back here again. The world has so much to offer and it would be foolish not to take advantage of it all."

You can see him off as he leaves St. Augustine on Saturday. The best viewing will be from the Bridge of Lions around 4:30 p.m. as he is towed out of the harbor. The official record breaking attempt will begin when he gets to Bermuda.

You can click here to track his progress around the globe, and learn more about the voyage.

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