Longest voyage by a wave-powered boat-world
record set by Kenichi Horie TOKYO,
Japan --The Suntory
Mermaid II successfully completed late Friday night
a 7,000-kilometre trip from Honolulu to the Kii Channel off
the east coast of Japan, setting the world record for the
longest voyage by a wave-powered boat. Kenichi Horie, the ecologically minded sailor
who captained the Mermaid, reached his destination in the
channel between the main Japanese islands of Honshu and Shikoku
after covering some 7,000 kilometres (3,780 nautical miles).
At a dockside celebration on at Shin Nishinomiya
Yacht Harbor, Horie told the gathering: "The time has come
for us to shift from fossil fuels. I hope this voyage will
increase awareness and interest in natural energy."
trip on the 3-ton, 31-foot catamaran, Suntory
Mermaid II, took 110 day and covered almost 4,000
miles from the Hawaii Yacht Club’s Aloha dock to the Japanese
islands of Honshu and Shinkoku.
The design team originally estimated that the
10-metre-long, three-tonne catamaran, made partly of recycled
aluminium, would average three to four knots per hour and
arrive off the east coast of Japan about 60 days after its
departure on March 16.
But unusually good weather and calm seas resulted
in the boat travelling an average of only 1.5 knots per hour
and the Mermaid’s maiden voyage ended up taking 111 days.
Nevertheless, Terao and his team were satisfied with the result.
The 9.5 metre (31-foot) boat is equipped with
two special fins at the front which can move like a dolphin's
tail each time the vessel rises or falls with the rhythm of
The journey was undertaken by a Japanese
team to demonstrate that an environmentally sensitive propulsion
system powered just by waves can operate in real-world conditions.
The bow-mounted mechanism, which harnesses wave
power to provide a dolphinlike tail kick from two independently
mounted flippers, was designed and built by Dr. Yutaka Terao
of the department of naval architecture and ocean engineering
at the Tokai University School of Marine Science and Technology
Kenichi Horie, who will turn 70
in September, has set two world records for piloting environmentally
sensitive boats, the first in 1993 for the longest distance
travelled in a human-powered pedal boat, 4,660 nautical
miles, the second in 1996 for the fastest Pacific crossing
in a solar-powered boat, 148 days.
Horie first made headlines in 1962 when, at the
age of 23, he became the first Japanese to sail solo across
the Pacific Ocean.
He embarked on that voyage despite breaking Japanese
law, which did not allow its citizens to sail on their own
out of the country, and without a passport or money.
He was arrested upon arrival in San Francisco but the
city mayor freed him, gave him a 30-day visa and made him
an honorary citizen.
News of his achievement made him a hero back home in
Japan and his book about the journey, "Kodoku:
Sailing Alone across the Pacific", was made into a
film. The Mermaid is on display in San Francisco.
Since then, he has completed numerous sailing
trips across the Pacific and around the world. His projects
have included sailing boats that rely on a single solar battery
or are made from recycled materials.
In 1974 he circumnavigated the globe nonstop
from east to west and in 1978 to 1982 from north to south.
In 1985 he made a solo voyage from Hawaii to Japan
in a solar boat and in 1989 accomplished the smallest yacht
solo Pacific crossing.
In 1992 to 1993 he made the solo voyage from
Hawaii to Japan in a pedal powered boat.
In 1996 he made a solo Pacific crossing
without stopping at any port from Ecuador to Tokyo in a solar
boat – now you’re talking - made of recycled aluminum, covering
10,000 miles in 148 days, the fastest crossing of the Pacific
in a solar powered boat. Waveworks
In 1999, with sponsorship for a Japanese brewery,
Suntory, he sailed Malt’s Mermaid II in a solo Pacific crossing
from the Golden Gate Bridge to Akashi Strait Bridge in Japan.
In 2002 he recreated his first solo trip across
the Pacific in a replica of the original Mermaid made of recycled
materials. The wooden hull was made from whiskey barrels,
the mast from recycled aluminum cans and the sails of plastic
"I'll hold out until I reach triple digits," the
silver-haired Horie said of his age as he greeted supporters
in his home harbour in Nishinomiya in the west.
Mr Horie's latest trip would have taken 10 days
in a regular diesel-powered boat. But he said he is raising
environmental awareness. "The sea was so calm, and the weather
was so great throughout my journey. That's why it took me
so long," he said. Sunday, July 13, 2008 Kenichi
Horie's blog ; Suntory-Mermaid2