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Seabird Lands Back In Oriental
Bernie "I'm Not a Sailor" Harberts Completes Circumnavigation
June 1, 2003
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On Thursday afternoon a tree farmer and former steeplechase rider from Statesville sailed in to the harbor in Oriental and completed a very big circle he began in November of 1998 in Oriental.

Bernie Harberts had circumnavigated the globe. Around 12:30 Thursday, he tied up at the Oriental Marina, hugged his mother and rest of his family and then, as a gentle rain fell, leaned against the pulpit of his boat and cried.

Bernie hugs Mom, embraces Aunt, Mom & Dad….and the family dog too.

An emotional moment

Harberts figures that in the last 4-1/2 years he’s put about 24,000 miles under the keel of his 34 foot Colvin steel cutter.

And yet Bernie says, “I’m not a sailor.”

“I’m a damn farmer,” he laughs, and explains, “I just travel from land to land by boat.”

Those lands include St. Thomas, Colombia, French Polynesia, Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa. Bernie says he’s working on a map of the world showing the various places where he “chucked over the fridge, and radios” and other boat parts and things he said he no longer needed and learned to live without.

Along the way he did not lose his tendency toward seasickness.

But he did return to NC with a New Zealand variation on a NC accent. And a greater appreciation for what a luxury time can be.

A Lake Norman Start
Bernie, who celebrated his 35th birthday in South Africa in January, says he got the idea of sailing around the world 15-20 years ago. He built small boats while he was working as a steeplechase rider and trying to keep his weight down; sitting around and watching TV was not an option, he says, so he set about building a boat in a barn, finding the hayloft a perfect place for laying out sails.

About 6 years ago, his steeplechase days behind and working a job in sales, Bernie bought a house on Lake Norman near Charlotte and within a day or two of moving in, he saw Sea Bird, “just sitting in the muddy water, semi-abandoned.” He decided at that moment that this is the boat he would take around the world.

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Posted Sunday June 1, 2003 by Keith N. Smith

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