An exclusive club

Jonathan Martins back in his home port after sailing across more than half the world: Photo: Jonathan Martins

Tauranga disabled sailor Jonathan Martins returned to his home port at Tauranga Bridge Marina yesterday after sailing solo from London.

Jonathan, a paraplegic, is a member of a very exclusive club. Of all the world's sailors there are a comparatively few solo sailors who cross oceans alone in a boat, and of all the world's solo sailors Jonathan can name the few disabled ones.

There's Geoff Holt, Keith White, and Australian Vinny Lauwers.

Jonathan is not the first paraplegic to sail the Atlantic solo, that was Geoff Holt. But he's the first to cross the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean in one voyage.

“Geoff's a hell of a nice guy, tetraplegic, British,” says Jonathan. “He built a catamaran called Impossible Dream. On that he sailed across the Atlantic. He was a sailor before he had a diving accident in the Caribbean.

“As a matter of length first from London, all the way here, nobody's done that before.”

Australian Vinny Lauwers is a legend.

“He did a non-stop around the world and then he disappeared. He never wrote a book, never made a video,” says Jonathan.

Jonathan is writing two books, but neither are novels.

“Any idiot can write a sequence of events, that's just verbal diahorrea. If you put the time and effort into it, it has to be poetic, a masterpiece.”

Jonathan is also working on a “technical-philosophical” type of thing, but that' he says is for a later stage in his life.

A philosopher himself, he's used his webpage and voyage to bring light to Philosophy for children( P4C ), a world-wide initiative, backed by UNESCO, to bring logic and argumentative reason to be taught in conventional education.

Jonathan is a practical philosopher and the voyage from Panama included a dietary experiment.

“This time I crossed the Pacific I decided to make an experiment because we look at food as a form of pleasure in our lives. And some people their lives revolve around food,” says Jonathan.

“So I try to keep it as simple as possible, and necessary. What is it I need?

“That was the experiment. I wanted to get rid of the pleasure and only be keeping the necessity.”

He ate lentils, brown rice, canoa - which he says is ridiculously cheap in Panama, and he also sprouted the lentils. And there were some canned beans.

But the result of eating soft foods for three months was his teeth loosened up a bit.

“One thing I discovered last night when I went to get a kebab at The Mount, I could barely chew. So that's one of the results of my experiment.'

He still savoured every single bite of that kebab.

Jonathan previously sailed solo across the pacific from Panama in 2015. He has been paraplegic since a skydiving accident on New Year's Day 2001.

For the next little while Janoathan is planning on tidying up the boat, a Hanse 400 named Little Minx, ready for sale.


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