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Initially it was proposed to complete the ‘wet’ sections of the human powered circumnavigation by kayaking from Scotland across to Greenland via Iceland and onto Canada, then across the Bearing Sea to Siberia, thereby avoiding the need to build a specialist craft for long, ocean hauls. It wasn’t long however before Steve and Jason realized what a ridiculous idea this was.

Steve and Hugo Burnham then approached David Goddard of the (then) Exeter Maritime Museum and were referred to a Naval Architect - Alan Boswell - who agreed to take on the task of designing a craft to transport 2 x people across a large body of water with enough supplies for up to 150 days away from land. Early on Alan proposed pedaling over rowing. This would afford the crew greater protection from the elements - in the form of a hatch sliding over the central cockpit area - as well as the use of leg muscles over arms. Drawing ideas from some of the Maritime Museum’s collection of ocean-going rowing boats used formerly by (amongst others) the late British rower Peter Bird, Alan outlined a craft that was long and narrow: 26ft long x 4.5ft wide. The canoe-like form would not only reduce drag but also facilitate a natural tendency to self-right in the event of capsize. But a corresponding reduction in storage area would mean the crew would have to reply upon dehydrated food and a desalination device to convert seawater to fresh.

The eventual design turned out to be very sea friendly with a soft, curving bilge allowing swells to pass freely underneath and a sharp narrow bow that would part waves and water easily. A low freeboard would create less wind resistance and the pod-like centre section act as a buoyancy bag making the boat completely unstable upside down and promoting the self righting action in conjunction with ballast in the hull. Being lightweight the craft acts like a cork and yields to the movements of wind and waves rather than providing resistance to them, which in turn reduces the amount of stress placed on the craft. The only downside to this is that she can at times be a very lively ride and often require the crew to hang on to their stomachs as she bobs and rolls her way along the great ocean highways.

>> Find out more about Alan's thinking behind the design



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