Johannes Li appears calm and mature in conversation. He has learned a lot in the last few months and has been very lucky. He has not only found the right boat, but also the right sponsors for his plan to sail around the world as a person with autism.
Two years ago, the then 18-year-old did not get off to a good start. It wasn’t just the boat he bought that wasn’t running. His social campaign also went off the rails. But Johannes wanted to go to sea, wanted to sail around the world. After extensive consultation with his supporters, the “youngest circumnavigator” developed a new campaign: the young sailor wanted to be more authentic and more true to himself. He made his disorder – Asperger’s autism – public and his credo:
Autism sails! Alone at sea – united at heart (Alone at sea – united at heart)
With the new campaign, Johannes Li wants to raise awareness and educate people about the neuronal disorders associated with autism. He set about looking for a new boat and sponsors. And found both almost simultaneously in June 2023 – the boat in Portugal, the sponsors in Stuttgart.
For Yvonne Peschel from Humanexx, who personally supports and advises Johannes Li, this is the company’s first major campaign. She is impressed by the young sailor’s courage and approach. It is not primarily a marketing campaign, says Yvonne Peschel. Rather, it should inspire the world and show that not all people are the same. The aim is to support Johannes in putting his plan into practice. And he can do that now.
The boat of Henri Amel
The boat that Johannes Li found in Portimao is not just any Amel, but the Amel Fango, whose first owner was the shipyard boss Henri Amel himself, as the papers show. Built to his personal requirements, Henri Amel sailed the boat from 1989 to 1991 until he sold her to the previous owner of Li.
Friends from Trans-Ocean e. V. had advised him to get an Amel. Ten meters long, just right for a single-handed circumnavigation. A safe ship with a high freeboard and good for all seas. His old sailing yacht, a 9.50 m Nantucket Clipper 32 from the early days of GRP hulls, was too dilapidated and unsuitable for sailing around the world. After all, he had taken him as far as Portugal, where Li found the right ship in the port of Portimao.