PALO ALTO, Calif. (KRON) — A 16-year-old Palo Alto High School student is sailing solo across the Atlantic Ocean right now with hopes of becoming the youngest sailor ever to complete the voyage west-to-east.
Cal Currier set sail from Massachusetts on June 27 in a 30-foot-long sailboat. His goal is to cross 3,500 miles of ocean and reach the shores of either Spain or Portugal — depending on the wind — by August 6.
“This kid is just out there by himself. He’s going the long way, and the hard way, west to east,” Cal’s father, James Currier, told KRON4 Wednesday.
Cal came up with his adventurous summer vacation plans in January. But there were just two problems. One, he didn’t know how to sail, and two, he didn’t have a boat.
Cal signed up for sailing lessons at Spinnaker Sailing in Redwood City and dedicated every weekend to learning how to navigate the ocean. “He just really got into it. He became obsessed,” James Currier said.
Cal later found an old sailboat owned by a 90-year-old sailmaker in Mystic, Connecticut. Cal met with the veteran sailmaker, Sandy Van Zandt, and learned all about Van Zandt’s beloved boat.
Van Zandt had dreamed of sailing his boat, 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 told his family that he felt ready to set sail on June 27. “Cal said, ‘why don’t I just sail offshore for two days? If I don’t like it, I’ll sail back. If I’m feeling good, I’ll keep going,” James Currier said.
The teen is able to communicate with his friends and family whenever there is a satellite overhead and they can track his location every ten minutes. Now that he’s nine days into his journey, Cal is still feeling good.
James Currier said he has confidence in his son. “When the going gets rough, this kid really stands up. If something is broken, he fixes it. If there’s chaos, he’s calm. He’s got this solid demeanor to him. We’re watching (the `boat location tracker) and he keeps getting faster and faster,” he told KRON4.
Cal’s father went on his own adventures sailing across the Pacific and Atlantic oceans when he was younger. The apple did not fall far from the tree. Cal’s father said, “He’s always loved adventure. He’s fearless.”