Captain Bill Pinkney
In 1992 Captain Bill Pinkney became the fourth American to sail solo around the globe via the Southern Route, which is considered one of the most difficult passages on earth. His 22-month-long voyage covered more than 27,000 miles and took him around the five southern capes, including Cape Horn at the tip of South America. A Chicago native and former public relations executive, Captain Pinkney sailed on a 47-foot cutter named The Commitment – reflecting his commitment to his dream of sailing around the world solo, and to the schoolchildren who followed his voyage via computer and television. A Navy veteran with eight years of service as a Hospital Corpsman, he served on the board of the Ocean Conservancy and can help infuse the public with his passion for protecting the world’s oceans.
A WCVB/TV Boston special “The Incredible Voyage of Bill Pinkney,” narrated by Bill Cosby, documented the voyage and earned a George Foster Peabody Award. Since his return, Pinkney has delivered his message of confronting adversity while reinforcing the belief that it is the voyage not the destination, where the lessons are learned. First graders and high level executives have learned from his relaxed, charismatic delivery of elementary truths. A naturally gifted speaker and storyteller, Pinkney is now inspiring audiences nationwide with the story of his remarkable voyage and the application of the lessons learned to business and day-to-day living.
After several years of writing and reflection, Pinkney released his autobiography, “As Long As It Takes: Meeting the Challenge.” The book details his life from growing up in Chicago’s “Bronzeville,” to his careers with the Navy and Corporate America, and his decision to leave it all behind and become one of only the handful of Americans to sail around the world solo via the Southern Ocean. The book, a winner of the John Southam Award, is an inspiring work about following your dreams with commitment, perseverance and a willingness to meet the challenges in life no matter how difficult or how long it takes.
Pinkney comes by the title “Captain” honestly and has been a U.S. Coast Guard Licensed Master since 1986 with more 50,000 miles of sea time to his credit.