NEW YORK – A woman who set out with her boyfriend on a 1,000-day sailing trip has abandoned the quest about one-third of the way through, saying she was plagued by seasickness.
"It was such a hard decision to make," Soanya Ahmad said after landing Friday at John F. Kennedy International Airport, having left the 70-foot yacht off the coast of Australia late last month. "We'd been through so much."
Ahmad and Reid Stowe left from Hoboken, N.J., on April 21, 2007. Their aim: to sail around the world for 1,000 straight days without touching land, beating a 657-day record set by Australian Jon Sanders. He circumnavigated the globe three times between 1986 and 1988.
Stowe, 56, has been a professional sailor and adventurer since he was a teenager. Ahmad, 24, had never sailed beyond the Hudson River before the around-the-world voyage.
A freighter crashed into their boat's bowsprit, or nose, only days after the journey began, she said. Then she fought severe seasickness, on and off, while living on dried fish and sprouts.
As the duo entered the Southern Hemisphere, the seas grew more turbulent, and "I just couldn't do it anymore," Ahmad said.
Members of a yacht club retrieved her at sea off Perth, Australia, allowing Stowe to keep striving for the record. Ahmad plans to keep in touch with him via e-mail.
"I guess we're still a couple," she said. "But it's going to be a very long-distance relationship."