Yachtsman off round the world for three years

NO cold beers or hot blondes for three years. That was one warning for prospective round-the-world yachtsman Mr Terence Lam as he made final preparations at the Royal Hongkong Yacht Club yesterday.

Yacht club commodore Mr Vic Locke, who joked that sailing often revolved more around alcohol and women than boats, wished Mr Lam well on his voyage - the first attempted circumnavigation of the globe to start in Hongkong.

Mr Lam admitted he could face a host of dangers - from food shortages to raging storms and even pirates.

But this shy, softly-spoken businessman, as far removed from a swashbuckling sea adventurer as you could imagine, simply shrugged his shoulders and said he would tackle any problems as they arose.

If he took weapons to defend himself against pirates they could be used against him or he could even be accused of gun-running.

There was nothing he could do about the weather, said the Macau-born 41-year-old, but he would be taking enough food for two as well as a few bottles of Portuguese wine on the 34-foot yacht which will be home for his three-year voyage.


Bureaucracy could throw another spanner in the works - Mr Lam will need a visa for South Africa, but as they are only valid for six months and it will be at least two years before he catches sight of South African soil, he will need to find a consulate along the way.

He is set to leave Hongkong at dawn on Wednesday, heading first for the Philippines, then calling at Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Sri Lanka.

This time next year he should be somewhere in the middle of the Indian Ocean heading to South Africa via Mauritius and maybe spending Christmas 1994 in Cape Town.

Brazil will be his next stop before he heads through the Panama Canal, deciding whether or not to head to New Zealand or to choose a speedier route home.


Although essentially a solo voyage, Mr Lam will welcome friends joining him for various stages.

The many months of solitude do not seem to concern Mr Lam, who will while away the hours fishing to supplement his food supply and learning Vietnamese and Spanish.


He said most people in Hongkong were workaholics and would like to get away from it all, but might shy away from asking their bosses for three years off.

Mr Lam has temporarily retired from his position as marketing manager of a Dutch firm dealing in animal vaccines and is funding the trip from his own savings.