Wave-Powered Boat Crosses Pacific
What do you do after setting world records for the furthest distance traveled by a pedal boat (4660 miles across the Pacific Ocean, from Hawaii to Okinawa) and the fastest Pacific crossing in a solar-powered boat? If you are Kenichi Horie you try to cross the Pacific in a wave-powered boat in pursuit of another world record.
For Horie's latest record attempt he took to the sea in a novel wave-powered boat, aiming to become the first person to cross the Pacific (where else of course?) using wave power alone.
How Does it Work?
Horie's custom-built lightweight boat - the Suntory Mermaid II - uses two horizontally-mounted airfoil-shaped fins that oscillate (like a pitching airfoil) with wave motion, converting the wave energy into potential energy that is stored in springs. Once the wave passes, the energy in the springs is released, causing a flipper-like motion of the fins which propels the boat.
Due to unusually good weather and calm seas, Horie took 111 days (almost twice as long as expected) to successfully complete his Pacific voyage - leaving Hawaii on March 16, 2008 and arriving at Wakayama, Japan on July 4, 2008. Averaging a sedate 1.5 knots (compared with the Suntory Mermaid II's top speed of 5 knots), the voyage was in no danger of setting any speed records except maybe the slowest Pacific crossing ever. Still Horie achieved his goal of becoming the first person to cross the Pacific Ocean in a wave-powered boat.
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