When most sailors see age 70 looming over the horizon, they tend to dial back their risky behavior. But not Jeff Hartjoy. As he explained via a Skype call this morning, at age 69 he is now in Ecuador making preparations for a solo nonstop circumnavigation via the Great Capes aboard his 1980 Baba 40 ketch Sailor’s Run, a boat he and his wife Debbie have owned for 21 years.
Unlike the quixotic notions of some aging mariners, though, Jeff already knows exactly what he’s getting into, having successfully soloed around Cape Horn in the same boat in 2009, despite enduring 50-knot winds, and dealing with blown sails, gear failures and an electrical fire.
Having scratched the Horn rounding off his bucket list, Jeff is now psyched up for the next challenge, although Debbie has tried to talk him out of it. He figures, "Hey, why not? I love sailing, and there’s no better sailing than in the Southern Ocean."
A former telephone lineman from Washington state, Jeff is at home in the great outdoors. In the late ’90s he and Debbie sold the log home that they’d built to finance their cruising dreams. They first headed south with the 1999 Baja Ha-Ha Rally, and repeated that San Diego-to-Cabo run twice afterward, winning their division each time, as they always refused to motor no matter how light the winds got.
Jeff intends to begin his voyage around Halloween of this year, and with any luck he’ll return before his 70th birthday in April 2016. Look for more on his ambitious plans in the July edition of Latitude 38 magazine.