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With a dream and a boat, this Kona sailor is setting his sights on an inspirational world record

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 5:00 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Kona’s Dustin Reynolds is on the verge of accomplishing something no other recreational sailor has ever done.

“There’s a lot of things I didn’t expect,” he said. “I didn’t expect to sail around the world by myself.”

Circumnavigating the globe solo would be a remarkable feat for an able-bodied person, but it’s even more impressive in his case. Reynolds is a double amputee.

“It was Oct. 18, so it’s almost the anniversary of this accident, which I tend to celebrate every year because I survived it,” he said.

In 2008, a drunk driver slammed head on into his Reynolds’ motorcycle. He lost his left arm and leg, and was ruined financially.

After a long physical rehabilitation, he sank the little finances he had left into a dream and a boat.

“I sold my two businesses and I bought a $12,000 sailboat and taught myself to sail off of YouTube and books, and then took off,” he said.

He walks on a prosthetic leg and has adapted to life with one hand. His boat isn’t specially designed for a disabled person. To raise the sail, he uses his teeth like others use a second hand.

“I use my teeth a lot,” he said.

When Reynolds completes his solo journey later this month or early next month, he will complete a seven-year journey in which he has logged over 35,000 miles and been to 36 countries.

“Showing up by myself with one arm and one leg, people are naturally curious. They usually take me in right away,” he said.

Crowdfunding kept his odyssey afloat. Grit keeps him going. The 43-year-old has sailed through storms, scared off boat pirates, and gone swimming with dolphins.

“One day a whale shark swam right up to my boat. I jumped in and swam with him for about half an hour,” he said.

Reynolds is on the island of Nuku Hiwa in French Polynesia, preparing for the final 2,000 miles of his journey to the Big Island.

“Once I got through the Panama Canal into the Pacific Ocean, I started to realize that I was close to home,” he said.

After his record-setting solo-sail ends in Kona, Reynolds plans to write a book about his amazing adventure.

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