You hear about how a 69 year old guy is trying to set a world record by traveling from Hawaii to Japan in a ‘Wave Powered Boat’ and you feel that age is truly a number. I suppose you are only as old or in case of Horie, as young as you feel. This amazing ocean traveler is like the modern day Sindbad as he tries once again something that has been never tried before. This is the same guy that made a solo trip across the Pacific in 1999 on a catamaran made from recycled beer barrels.
The Japanese sailor is planning a solo 4,350 mile trip from Hawaii to Japan using the most advanced wave powered boat on the planet. If successful, the trip would earn him a Guinness record while simultaneously proving the viability of wave powered propulsion. His boat, the Suntory Mermaid II, turns wave energy into thrust using two fins mounted beneath the bow. These fins move up and down with the waves and use them to generate ‘kicks’ that propel the boat forward. Wave energy might not replace the conventional energy sources as of yet but it could be a very useful supplement.
Wave energy can be used by those who just like to spend some time of the ocean and just go beyond the horizon for a lovely trip. If time is not an issue then this is probably a very good choice. But the trip Ken will be on is no fun ferry and it will be a dangerous endeavor as he will have no fuel at his possession. The problem is that the new fangled technology will only manage to scrape together a top speed of 5 knots. Therefore, it will take about three months to achieve what a diesel powered boat can achieve in only one. Plus, all of the radios and electrical equipment are solar powered. So if it is a bad weather day and a problem hits the boat, then it can get pretty tricky. One wishes him luck on his tough journey and hopefully we will report the trips success come 3 months time.