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Uncommonly Sensible

Keeping the "anal" in analytical... (While trying to remain civilized)

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Location: United States

Friday, March 07, 2008

Making waves?

Solo sailor will now navigate wave-powered boat to Japan
-by Sudhin Thanawala

AP: Honolulu, HI - "Kenichi Horie, who has sailed nonstop around the world and crossed the Pacific in a solar-powered boat made of recycled aluminum beer cans, is getting ready for his next solo adventure.

In less than two weeks, Horie is expected to begin what he says is the world's longest voyage in a wave-powered boat. He plans to travel more than 4,000 miles from Honolulu to Japan aboard a 3-ton catamaran called the Suntory Mermaid II at a speed of up to 5 knots.

The boat, made of recycled aluminum, relies on the energy of waves to move two fins at its bow and propel it forward..."

From Wikipedia, About Kenichi Horie:

In 1962 he crossed the Pacific Ocean in 94 days aboard a 19 foot sailboat (called the Mermaid) from Nishinomiya, Japan to San Francisco. He arrived at San Francisco with no passport or money and was promptly arrested. After learning of his voyage the mayor freed him and gave him a 30 day visa and was awarded the key to the city. He wrote a book about his voyage, titled "Kodoku" ("Alone on the Pacific"), which was made into a movie (also titled "My Enemy, The Sea") in 1963 by Kon Ichikawa, which was nominated for a Golden Globe.

In 1985 he sailed a solar boat from Hawaii to Chichijima.

In 1992 to 1993 he sailed from Hawaii to Okinawa in a pedal powered boat.

In 1996 he sailed from Salinas, Ecuador to Tokyo in a solar boat made of recycled aluminum. This crossing covered 10,000 miles in 148 days which earned the Guinness World Record for the fastest ever crossing of the Pacific in a solar-powered boat.

In 1999 he sailed from San Francisco to Japan aboard a boat made primarily from recycled materials. The boat, Malt's Mermaid II, designed by Kennosuke Hayashi, was a 32.8 foot long, 17.4 foot wide, catamaran constructed from 528 beer kegs welded end-to-end in 5 rows (Horie joked that 500 of them were empty) The rigging consisted of two side-by-side masts with junk rig sails made from recycled plastic bottles. This boat is on display Okura Beach, Akashi.

In 2002 he sailed from Nishinomiya to San Francisco aboard the Mermaid III, which was a replica of the original Mermaid constructed from a variety of recycled materials, including whiskey barrels for the hull, aluminum cans for the mast and plastic soda bottles for the sails.

With a maximum speed of five knots, the Suntory will take two to three months to complete a voyage that diesel-powered craft accomplish in just one. But speed is not the point. The voyage aims to prove that wave propulsion can work under real-world conditions, opening up the technology for commercial applications such as cargo shipping. "Oil is a limited power source," Horie says, "but there is no limit to waves."

I don't know about no limit, but it's a fascinating concept...


Blogger Marsha said...

This story is right up my alley...energy, faith, suspense, water, brave explorer. I'll be watching, and thanks for the info Camo. Now I'll have to look for the film.

March 07, 2008 9:39 AM  
Blogger Ms RightWing's Ink said...

wow! This guy likes to live on the cutting edge. Me? No thank you, dodging semi's in my power chair is enough action to my pulse beating.

March 07, 2008 1:20 PM  
Blogger Bunny said...

Now there's a guy with way too much time on his hands. Glad he's having such a good time sailing around in and/or on what used to be the trash, but he sounds like someone who didn't get enough attention when he was a kid. Heh, heh...

March 07, 2008 6:08 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

Seems to me he'll have a lot of time for fishing.

Good luck finding that movie.

Ms RightWing:
I think it'll be more like a slow boat to China...except he's going to Japan. Slightly shorter trip.

Oh, he's going to have plenty of time on his hands. Wind is free too, and would get him there faster.

He does give the impression that he's seeking attention, yes...

March 07, 2008 7:01 PM  
Blogger Beerme said...

Thanks for the heads-up! I think this fellow is fascinating! I hope he lives another fifty years!

March 08, 2008 11:19 AM  
Blogger mmezalick said...

So what happened to the 28 kegs that were not empty. Sure beats drinking sea water.

March 10, 2008 11:17 AM  
Blogger boberin said...

Very cool indeed. Thanks for the info, sorry to be late to the party.
Entertainaing and informative as ever. You should have been a teacher!

March 10, 2008 2:11 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

Yes, I think he's fascinating too. I don't expect he'll live another fifty years, but it wouldn't be unprecedented, I guess...just very rare.

I suppose those kegs got emptied somehow. No, drinking (too much) sea water will kill ya.

Late? Nah; when I post something on a Friday, I realize that some comments won't be forthcoming until the following week.

I try to be entertaining and informative, thanks. As for being a teacher, in one sense I am, and have been asked before if that was my vocation...

March 10, 2008 7:47 PM  
Blogger mmezalick said...

I’ve been thinking about this voyage and there is a good possibility that he will not make it.
North Equatorial Current is the driving winds that create the waves and their direction.
Pacific trade winds drive surface waters toward the west to form the North and South Equatorial currents, the axes of which coincide with latitude 15° N and the Equator, respectively. Squeezed between the equatorial currents is a well-defined countercurrent, the axis of which is always north of the Equator and which extends from the Philippines to the shores of Ecuador. The actual location in the Pacific Ocean is limited to 8°–20°N with wind speeds of 0.1–0.3 m s.

It may take him forever if he hits a calm day, or worse yet the dreaded countercurrent.

March 11, 2008 7:49 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

While the ocean currents will undoubtedly have some influence on the trip, the direction of the waves are not what operates the propulsion system...it works off of the up and down motion of the wave action, converting vertical movement into horizontal thrust.

Check out the diagram and/or the links, although what you said about hitting calm seas is definitely correct...

March 12, 2008 6:51 AM  
Blogger benning said...

It's very clever! I wonder how folks like this get the ideas in the first place.

March 12, 2008 10:03 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

It is rather clever; I suspect that by now people might bring their ideas to him, since he's earned a reputation as something of a pioneer and entrepreneur regarding unique boats.

How they get those ideas in the first place is an excellent question, for which I have no concrete answer, merely conjecture...

March 13, 2008 6:52 AM  
Blogger mmezalick said...

I wonder if there will be an accounting of the time spent using this type of propulsion as apposed to other forms he may have at his disposal.

March 13, 2008 6:58 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

If/when he hits the doldrums he may have to use the outboard motor he's bringing with him...but I don't think he's in any particular hurry. So long as he's got enough to eat (fishing?) and drink (watermaker?) he should be fine; he's already expecting it to take him months to make the passage anyway...

March 13, 2008 8:04 PM  
Blogger Tin Ma'am said...

hey camojack, thanks for the comment on my site.

I'm going ot want to see that Mermaid - the mechanics of it is absolutely fascinating! Even if it doesnt completely replace oil as a power source, imagine having that apply to a damaged ship? A damaged ship would be able to coast for longer if that could be turned into a secondary power source. WHile I'm not expectin the US to get into many huge battles at sea any time soon... it's worth consideration.

March 14, 2008 11:38 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

Tin Ma'am:
Welcome to my li'l corner o' the blogosphere.

Fascinating indeed; your comment gave me the idea that perhaps something along those lines could be mounted and/or deployed as an auxiliary means of propulsion.

Good one!

March 14, 2008 9:30 PM  
Blogger mmezalick said...

Kenichi Horie in the Mermaid II is off and running, to use the term loosely.
He left this past Tuesday 3/18/08
Here is a link to his website where you can watch the updates on the voyage.


March 22, 2008 5:37 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

Thanks for the update!

We'll have to check up on him periodically...

March 23, 2008 8:25 AM  

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