BY: BRITTANY ROSEN
Captain Liz Clark lifted anchor on her boat in 2006, and has been independently sailing around the world ever since, with no plan to stop anytime soon.
Armed with an in-depth education in sailing, and a lifetime at sea with her family’s boat, The Endless Summer, Clark is well qualified for the toil of open-ocean navigation. In fact, she even went on a six month excursion with the boat, about 5,000 miles, with her family at seven years old.
Progressing into adulthood, Clark decided that it was time for her own boat—not only because she loved sailing, but because she wanted to “protect the natural world from human destruction,” according to her website, swellvoyage.com.
Clark purchased the boat in 2005—which she named Swell—a vessel of surprisingly decent condition despite dating back to 1966. Still, Clark knew that the lengthy excursion she had envisioned demanded perfection, requiring a few extra touch-ups to the boat to prepare it for off-shore voyaging. In order to reconstruct her boat for these circumstances, she worked with professional marines and learned all about how boats work and all the technicalities that come with it: equipment, electrical systems, mechanics, and much more.
The first year Clark spent at sea, she voyaged to the western coast of Mexico and Central America. However, she did not spend this year alone. She was joined by her friends, who acted as her crew during the journey.
Although Clark enjoyed sailing with her friends, she announced that she wanted to begin voyaging alone, as her future plans involved a much higher margin of risk and separation from the modern world. This time, her wanderlust wasn’t going to lead her through the luxurious waters of the Caribbean, and demanded a more seasoned crew of ‘salty-dog’ sea-hardened veterans—namely, Clark and her mom.
Clark and her mom spent more than 20 days on the South Pacific, exploring the “largest expanse of open ocean on the planet.” After these “unforgettable” days with her mother, Clark spent the following year sailing through the French Polynesia and Kiribati.
This excursion was a true test of Clark’s expertise. Upon returning from Kiribati, she experienced a leak in Swell, a broken forestay, and desperately required a new overhaul. Luckily—with the skills that she learned from the marines—Clark managed to fix the leak and returned to the sea in no time.
In an interview with GrindTV Clark has stated that, “spending a lot of time alone has helped me learn myself and love myself and has opened a relationship of trust in the Universe, God, the Greatness…whatever you want to call it.”
Clark has since sailed 18,000 miles, and intends to continue exploring the Pacific well into the foreseeable future.