PALO ALTO, Calif. (KRON) — Sixteen-year-old Cal Currier is going to have quite the story to tell his Palo Alto High School classmates when he returns from summer break.

Currier is the youngest sailor ever to sail solo across the Atlantic Ocean west-to-east. On Friday, the daring teen was less than 1,150 miles from reaching the shores of Gibraltar south of Spain.

KRON4 was able to communicate through text messages with Currier Friday afternoon when his 30-foot-long sailboat was just about to dock on the Azores Islands, 947 miles off the coast of Portugal.

“My face hurts from smiling so much,” Currier told KRON4.

Reaching the islands is the most crucial milestone in his 3,500-mile-long voyage because it’s the only stop where he can replenish supplies. Currier will load up with more water, food, and diesel on the Azores before he sets sail for Gibraltar.

Currier made up his mind to attempt his cross-ocean adventure in January. At the time, Currier did not have a sailboat. He also didn’t know how to sail.

For six months, the determined teen dedicated every free moment outside of school to learning the sport with Spinnaker Sailing in Redwood City.

On June 27, Currier told his parents that he felt ready, hopped onto his boat, and sailed out of a Massachusetts harbor.

After 18 days of sailing over a vast ocean, Currier described his biggest challenges so far.

“I’m feeling pretty lonely. That was to be expected though. The biggest challenges have been managing my time, which I have an overabundance of, and sleep management,” Currier wrote to KRON4.

The teen said going on his adventure alone is giving him a deeper appreciation for the people in his life.

“What I’ve gained from the adventure is stronger value for people. I have also thought a lot about my experiences and done some self-reflecting,” Currier wrote.

The teen navigates the open ocean using a Raymarine Chartplotter as his high-tech compass. His friends and family are able to see his real-time location through a satellite mapping system.

Currier’s idea to sail from North America to Europe without a crew nor years of sailing experience was met with plenty of skeptics. “The number of skeptics who told me I couldn’t, or shouldn’t, do it was everybody other than my father, and my mother, and my grandparents,” Currier told KRON4.

His father, James Currier, told KRON4 that he’s very proud of his son.

“This kid is just out there by himself. He’s going the long way, and the hard way, west to east,” James Currier said.

James Currier said he feels confident that his son will succeed because, “He’s got this solid demeanor to him. When the going gets rough, this kid really stands up. If there’s chaos, he’s calm. We’re watching (the boat location tracker) and he keeps getting faster and faster,” James Currier said. “He’s fearless.”

The teen’s sailboat, named Argo, isn’t much to look at. “It’s kind of ugly,” James Currier said.

Looks aside, Argo is a solid ship that was restored by a master sailmaker, Sandy Van Zandt, in Mystic, Connecticut. When Cal Currier was still looking for a boat that could withstand the forces of Mother Nature, he met with Van Zandt and learned all about the 90-year-old sailmaker’s beloved boat.

Van Zandt had dreamed of sailing Argo to a tropical island, but he never got the chance. He agreed to sell Argo to the energetic teen for half-price. “He sold it to this daring young 16-year-old hoping to carry on his dream,” James Currier said.

Cal Currier’s location on July 15, 2022.
Cal Currier reached the Azores islands on Friday, July 15, 2022.