As the 14 finishers of this month’s Singlehanded TransPac can confirm, sailing alone from the West Coast to the Hawaiian Islands is a substantial personal accomplishment. Last spring San Pedro-based Karl Burton made a similar crossing aboard his Swan 61 Viking, but without the safety net of an organized race. For Burton, who was then 85 years old, arriving was particularly sweet, as it was his fourth successful California-to-Hawaii solo crossing.
He was apparently so thrilled, in fact, that he decided to continue on around the world alone. Now on the home stretch of a very fast lap around the planet, he’s expected to arrive at the L.A. Lighthouse before noon on August 2 — only 15 months after setting out — where he will be met by friends and fans from his Cabrillo Beach YC. Club members encourage other SoCal boaters to join them in escorting Viking back to her home berth. (Gather around 11:30 a.m. near the lighthouse.)
Burton’s sailing career spans more than 76 years, during which time, we’re told, the idea of circumnavigating solo was always in the back of his mind. His wife Jolene has shared his sailing passion for more than 50 of those years, and she’ll be at the CBYC guest dock to greet him with a champagne toast. Although we may not make it to the celebration, we’ll also be toasting Burton on that day: "Good job Karl. You are truly an inspiration!"
(For info on the homecoming shindig call CBYC at 310-519-1694.)