NEW YORK – A sailor who had been cruising around the world finally returned to dry land more than three years after leaving it, arriving to the welcoming arms of loved ones, including a toddler son he had never met.
Reid Stowe, 58, had a huge grin on his face as he docked his 70-foot-long, two-masted schooner “Anne” at a pier near West 42nd Street on Thursday afternoon. Family and friends applauded and cheered. Stowe had been sailing nonstop for 1,152 days, missing the birth of his 23-month-old son, Darshen.
He showed no signs of seasickness when he got onto the dock and immediately kissed the cheek of his girlfriend, Soanya Ahmad, 26, and their son, who was asleep in her arms.
Stowe and Ahmad originally had planned to take a 1,000-day trip together and left from Hoboken, N.J., on April 21, 2007.
But after 10 months, Ahmad abandoned her quest nearly a third of the way through, saying she was plagued by seasickness and suspecting she was pregnant. Reid continued the trip without her.
“Before we left, we had an agreement that if I had to get off for any reason, he would go on,” Ahmad said. “I knew if he came back and didn’t finish the voyage, he would just go back again. There was no way he wasn’t going to finish it.”
Stowe said seeing Ahmad leave was the hardest part of his trip.
“We had to succeed with this mission,” Stowe said. “Soanya and I both knew I had to do what I had to do.”
To keep himself busy for the last two years, Stowe repaired torn sails, painted, practiced yoga and wrote a book that he hopes to get published. He was able to send e-mails and make satellite phone calls.