24-year-old sets new Japan age record for solo round-the-world voyage

A 24-year-old company worker has become the youngest Japanese to make a solo, nonstop voyage around the world in a yacht.

Kimura Hirotsugu set sail from the western Japanese city of Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, on October 22 last year.

On Saturday, he completed the 231-day voyage when he reached the goal line in the Kii Channel, between the western prefectures of Wakayama and Tokushima.

Kimura is 24 years and nine months old. The previous Japanese record was held by Shiraishi Kojiro, who sailed around the world in 1994 at the age of 26 years and 10 months.

Kimura said at a welcome ceremony that he is very happy and he wants to thank all the people who supported him.

Kimura was congratulated by 85-year-old Horie Kenichi. In March 2022 at the age of 83, Horie became the oldest person in the world to make a solo voyage across the Pacific Ocean in a yacht without stopping. Horie urged Kimura to aim to become the oldest person to complete a solo, nonstop voyage around the world in a yacht.

Speaking to reporters after the ceremony, Kimura referred to his failed attempt in 2022 when he was forced to return after a few days due to bad weather. He said he was full of regret then, but was able to set off with confidence this time thanks to the support from people around him. He said he is glad he was able to complete the task.