The Del Rey Yacht Club (DRYC) has a new member who has crossed an ocean alone aboard his 48-foot sailboat to earn his honorary membership.
From Tokyo, Hideshige Seki found his way to the harbor of Marina del Rey in the beginning of a ten-year journey around the globe he is undertaking in his Tayana 48.
When DRYC members Janet Michaelis and Hiro Funaku, who is Japanese, were having lunch overlooking the main channel, Funaku caught sight of his home-country flag flying from Seki’s boat that was traveling by and immediately went over to the public docks at Burton Chace Park to introduce himself and invite him to the club as an honored guest.
In true Corinthian spirit, the club furnished him with a slip and complete access to the facilities, where he will stay for the next month as he explores the Los Angeles area.
Seki, 56, had never left Japan before departing on this daring expedition except for a trip to Hong Kong for his honeymoon. And, although he is retired from the Japanese Navy, he had only been on a boat during a six-month training stint many years ago. His job, which involved designing aircraft systems for a division not unlike our Pentagon, was mostly behind a desk.
After retiring, Seki ended up buying the sturdy Tayana from a friend who had suffered a heart attack and had to give up sailing. He bought the cruiser and, soon after, decided he would sail around the world. While he has a wife and grown children, none could commit the amount of time needed, so he set off alone.
While not an experienced sailor, Seki is an intelligent man who researched thoroughly how to prepare and execute such a voyage. He has seven GPS (Global Positioning System) units, a sextant, redundant systems, a wind vane, food for 300 days, spare parts and, more than anything else, an understanding of what a trip of this magnitude entails. He also has an equally important hearty sense of humor and a refreshing humility ñ oh, and an onboard karaoke machine, too.
Seki will be on Del Rey Yacht Club’s campus for the rest of the year, then in January he will sail down to Mexico for a short time, return back to the Marina to participate in DRYC’s Marina del Rey to Puerto Vallarta Race, scheduled for February, and once the race is complete, he’ll carry on south.
He plans to spend years in the islands of the South Pacific, New Zealand and Australia on this solitary journey that will take him to all corners of the earth.