By Ben Fractenberg
MIDTOWN WEST — Reid Stowe's incredible journey ended with a tearful homecoming in Hell's Kitchen on Thursday.
Stowe, 58, shattered a world record to become the first person to sail around the world for more than one thousand consecutive days. His arrival at Pier 81 in Manhattan ended a grueling journey aboard a hand-built schooner that set sail more than three years ago.
“This is a new human experience,” Reid said. “For three years I’ve been humble and silent, living very close to God and death.”
Reid’s girlfriend, Soanya Ahmad, set sail with him, intending to complete it together. But after just over 300 days she started feeling ill. At first they thought it was just sea sickness — but it turned out to be morning sickness.
She was forced to leave the trip, and nine months later, she gave birth to their first child, a boy named Darshen.
Reid met his 23-month-old-son for the first time during an emotional reunion around 1 p.m. Thursday at a packed pier on the Hudson River just south of the Intrepid Sea Air and Space Museum.
“That was the toughest part of the journey, letting Soanya off the boat,” Reid said.
Ahmad said she never feared for her life.
“I had to trust in Reid,” she said. “That takes a level love.”
Reid said he built the 70-foot schooner, which he named Anne, with the help of his brother at a family cottage in North Carolina.
The ship held up remarkably well, despite being hit by another boat after just 15 days at sea, and having its sails torn during a close encounter rounding Cape Horn. The rent sails kept him from being able to sail into the wind the duration of the journey.
But Reid persevered. After three years, he is finally reunited with his family and friends.
“This was all accomplished through the power of love,” Reid said. “My love for humanity gave me strength to do this voyage.”