FEATURE: Miri sailor ready to go round the world in 180 days


Ariffin Abdul Aziz.

MIRI - Ariffin Abdul Aziz, a Miri-based sailor, will leave the Miri Marina in June on a non-stop, round-the-world voyage for 180 days.

"The Miri Malaysia World Solo Challenge will cover a route of 3,649 nautical miles. I am ready to break the record of our national mariner Datuk Azahar's 25,000 nautical miles," said a jubilant Captain Ariffin, targeting 180 days of unassisted solo trip against Azhahar's 190 days of assisted trip when he broke his mast near the Falkland Inslands.

Known as Fin or Captain Fin or Masterfin to the sailing fraternity in the region, he used to skipper Miri's racing yacht Ulumulu, particularly in the Borneo International Yachting Challenge and other successful campaigns at various regional circuits and Asian regattas.

Answering in jest of possibility he would get a "datuk" title from the state upon arrival from the solo trip, he said, "I'm pretty sure to successfully break Azahar's record".

He said he has been preparing physically and mentally for the challenge since the last series of Borneo International Yachting Challenge on September 3, 2006.

Captain Ariffin began his career as a professional sailor after leaving the Royal Malaysian Navy in 1987. His deep interests in water sports steered him from managing water sport activities for resorts and owning a dive centre to maintaining and skippering sail and power yachts.

In 1994, Fin set out on his first yacht race on Gotcha Lagi, when he got hooked on racing.

He raced with the Malaysian teams for five years and won prestigious trophies in Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore.

He got an apprenticeship aboard an Australian high-tech racing yacht, the only carbon-fibre yacht to come to these waters, and together with the team continue to win international regattas.

Subsequently, he went into long distance yacht deliveries to Europe and Australia.

Having logged over 100,000 nautical miles and experienced crossing various oceans in all types of weather, he told the Bulletin, "Communicate with me via e-mail. I am still single... so no problem... (I am) ready."

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