- Bill Hatfield
- 81:39 year(s):day(s)
- Australia ()
The oldest person to sail around the world singlehandedly and non-stop is Bill Hatfield (Australia, b. 14 January 1939), who was aged 81 years 39 days when he sailed into The Spit on Australia's Gold Coast on 22 February 2020. He embarked on his eight-month (295-day) solo circumnavigation – on the more challenging westerly route, against the prevailing winds – on 8 June 2019 in his 11.5-m (38-ft) yacht L'Eau Commotion.
The former fisherman had dreamt of breaking the circumnavigation record since the age of seven years old and made the first of three unsuccessful attempts in 2015. He was washed overboard during that first voyage, struck by a vicious storm during his next attempt in 2016 and faced insurmountable difficulties in rounding Cape Horn in 2017, forcing him to abort. His fourth attempt proved to be more successful, although he chalks this up to luck. "Coming back, there were three cyclones, two of them quite strong, but they just passed me by," he told ABC News.