Australian man rescued off Maui after sailing for 100 days in homemade boat without engine

An Australian man attempting to sail home alone in a homemade boat was rescued off the coast of Hawaii after being blown off course, the US Coast Guard says.

Kris Larson, 62 was in a nine-metre sailboat and flagged down a commercial passenger boat nearly six kilometres from Maui on Sunday afternoon, USCG officials said.

Mr Larson had set out from Panama, however his boat had no engine or the usual radio and communication equipment, GPS, or a toilet. Its sails were in poor condition, officials said.

Kris Larson was sailing to Australia in a homemade boat when he was blown off course and rescued off the coast of Hawaii. Source: Islander Evangelistic Ministries/Facebook

The crew of the Trilogy V told authorities the man appeared disoriented, and he was having trouble sailing into port.

Mr Larsen, a veteran sailor, departed Darwin late in 2014, bound for South Africa during a five-year world trip. He had been sailing west-bound by way of Cape of Good Hope.

After crossing the Atlantic Ocean he entered the Panama Canal, where he made his last port in September.

The veteran sailor departed Darwin late in 2014 bound for South Africa at start of a five-year global voyage. Source: Islander Evangelistic Ministries/Facebook

He left Panama 102 days before the December 31 rescue. Mr Larson was on his way to Australia when weather forced him toward Hawaii, officials said.

A USCG response boat towed his vessel, the Kehaar Darwin, to Sugar Beach on Maui.

He reportedly planned to spend five years sailing around the world in the modest boat. Mr Larson's wife Nat, who lives in Darwin, wrote on her blog the reasons for the sailor's lengthy voyage.

“I’ll be turning 60 later this year. I’ve been working for a living for the past 40 years and I am tired of working," Mr Larson told his wife before he set off around the world.

The boat did not contain an engine or the usual radio and communication equipment, GPS, or a toilet, and its sails were in poor condition. Source: United States Coast Guard

"Humans are the only animals who work for a living. All other creatures live for a living. And I still have five years to go till my old age pension.

"I have decided I am going sailing for those five years. I will live for a living, like all other creatures in the world.”

The experienced sailor had previously criss-crossed the Indian Ocean and the Western Pacific for seven years, travelling more than 72,400 kilometres.

Kris Larson and his wife Nat sailing in Haiti back in 2016. Source: United States Coast Guard

"Being disoriented while at sea in a vessel with no communication capabilities aboard can be deadly if not handled quickly," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jacob Schlereth, a boarding officer and engineer at Station Maui.

"We commend the good Samaritan for recognising the complications and contacting the proper authorities to initiate a rescue."

US Customs and Border Protection will interview the Mr Larson before he continues his voyage.


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