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Mars Odyssey plans for 1.000 day trip

Jan 1, 2003

The elusive search for true adventure continues. The longest non-stop voyage ever made is scheduled to get underway this fall from New York City. An American adventurer announced recently that he will spend 1,000 days (2.77 years) at sea and out of sight of land aboard his 70-foot schooner.

Reid Stowe, whose lilting Southern accent and effusive charm make a voyage of such a length seem pleasant and reasonable, said he is not daunted by the thought of spending so much time at sea in the company of his French girlfriend, Laurence Guilliam.

"After spending time on the boat in Antarctica, I thought, 'What next?' So that's why I came up with the idea of doing the longest voyage in history without even seeing land," Stowe said, adding that he had already made a passage of 100 days at sea out of sight of land and found it enjoyable.

The voyage is being called the Mars Odyssey since a trip to Mars in a manned spaceship would require a similar level of isolation and would be of about the same duration.

Stowe built his steel schooner Anne 20 years ago, and, Slocum-style, balanced the rig in such a way that he does not need a windvane. "Weather doesn't matter to me because it's a big boat, well insulated and very strong," he said. The voyage will be entirely self-sufficient, Stowe said, meaning that he will never need to resupply food, fuel, or water. Anne will slowly circumnavigate the Earth, making circles in each of the great oceans, Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian.

Despite the obvious peculiarity of the planned voyage, numerous sponsors have offered money and gear in exchange for publicity. One company, International Paint, donated so much bottom paint that Anne enjoys a constant slathering of at least 10 coats. "We'll probably take her out again before the trip for another few coats, Stowe said.

You can follow the progress of the 1,000-day voyage at its website: www.1000_days.org.