THOMASTON, Maine — Stanley Paris hopes to set records for circling the globe, and on Thursday afternoon he got to see the 63-foot custom-designed cruising yacht he plans to use to do so.
The Kiwi Spirit was christened and launched at the Lyman Morse Boatbuilding yard on the Thomaston waterfront.
“For thousands of years, people have gone to sea. Our ships take care of us through perilous seas,” Paris said before Heidi Lyman smashed a bottle of champagne against the bow.
The Florida resident, a native of New Zealand, said he selected Lyman Morse to build his yacht after he and his architect narrowed the field to six boatyards — two in New Zealand and four in the United States.
“I’m very impressed with this group. They have done a remarkable job,” Paris said.
The boatyard put 44,000 man-hours into building the vessel.
“This is a great purpose-driven project and a real honor to have been chosen as the builder,” Drew Lyman of the boatyard said in a news release. “All of us here at the yard are very excited to be taking part in a project such as this where we have been able to flex our capabilities. It is also a real pleasure to work with someone like Stanley who has such a vision and mission.”
The yacht was designed by Farr Yacht Design of Annapolis, Md., and built specifically so that Paris could sail it single-handedly around the world.
The 75-year-old Paris plans to begin that trip a year from now, but the Kiwi Spirit’s first challenge will be the Atlantic Rally Cruise, a regatta that starts Nov. 25 in the Canary Islands and ends across the Atlantic on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia. The 2,700-nautical-mile trip takes two to three weeks.
The schedule means he needs to set sail in the next week for the Canary Islands.
Paris said he wants to set the record for the oldest person to circle the globe alone and that in addition to being the oldest he wants to do it completely “green.” The Kiwi Spirit will use no fossil fuels, he explained. There will be solar panels lining the deck, small hydro-generators will be mounted under the vessel to power the boat, and there will be wind turbines above to provide more power for navigation and cooking.
The hull of Kiwi Spirit is built out of epoxy-infused carbon, E-glass and Kevlar with a thermo-core that is both stiff and lightweight, according to Lyman Morse. There are four water ballast compartments to help counter the powerful rig and make the boat more comfortable in heavy air. An easy-to-manage sail plan has been incorporated, with all lines leading aft to the cockpit, according the boatyard.
Paris has racked up about 60,000 miles sailing.
As part of his around-the-world quest, Paris has asked people or companies to donate money to the nonprofit organization Foundation for Physical Therapy for which he serves on the board of trustees. Donors, according to the foundation, will have their name displayed on the side of the boat.
The organization’s website, foundation4pt.org, indicates that Paris has twice swum the English Channel — raising $52,000 for the foundation with his 2009 swim — and completed the Ironman triathlon in Hawaii.
Paris also was founding president of the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in Florida. Since arriving in the United States in 1966, he has been involved in research, clinical practice and teaching orthopedic and manual physical therapy.