Marine

Rower prepares to cross the Atlantic in futuristic boat

Rower prepares to cross the At...
The Samson is designed to be rowed from New York City to Paris
The Samson is designed to be rowed from New York City to Paris
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The Samson is designed to be rowed from New York City to Paris
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The Samson is designed to be rowed from New York City to Paris
The watercraft undergoing a test of its self-righting feature
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The watercraft undergoing a test of its self-righting feature
The vessel measures 13.4 x 2.9 meters (43.9 x 9.5 ft) and has a dry weight of 650 kg (1,433 lb)
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The vessel measures 13.4 x 2.9 meters (43.9 x 9.5 ft) and has a dry weight of 650 kg (1,433 lb)
It has no motor or sails, relying entirely on two rowing stations for propulsion
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It has no motor or sails, relying entirely on two rowing stations for propulsion
The 3,800-mile (6,116-km) crossing is expected to take 60 to 80 days
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The 3,800-mile (6,116-km) crossing is expected to take 60 to 80 days
Expedition leader Andras Bakos
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Expedition leader Andras Bakos
Bakos stands beneath the Samson
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Bakos stands beneath the Samson
Expedition partner Erik Harrewijn
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Expedition partner Erik Harrewijn
The expedition's planned route
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The expedition's planned route

Like many fathers with young children, experienced rower Andras Bakos is concerned about what sort of shape the environment will be in by the time his son grows up. That's why in 2011, he began planning a trans-Atlantic rowing expedition to raise awareness of environmental issues. The boat that he had custom-built for the trip is now ready to go, and it looks like it could just as well be used for rowing to Mars.

Bakos started by teaming up with LOMOcean Design – the same firm that previously created the TURANOR PlanetSolar solar-powered yacht, and the Earthrace alternative fuel-powered boat. He tells us that his goal was to "design a unique ocean rowing boat that is safe, fast and reconsider all elements of traditional trans-Atlantic rowing from scratch."

Several months later, with a design in hand, he began looking for a builder. He decided on Flaar, a company based in his native Hungary, that's known for its vacuum-formed carbon epoxy sandwich-structured boats. Construction began at the end of 2012, and the finished trimaran – named the Samson – is now waiting to make the New York City-to-Paris crossing.

The vessel measures 13.4 x 2.9 meters (43.9 x 9.5 ft) and has a dry weight of 650 kg (1,433 lb)
The vessel measures 13.4 x 2.9 meters (43.9 x 9.5 ft) and has a dry weight of 650 kg (1,433 lb)

The vessel measures 13.4 x 2.9 meters (43.9 x 9.5 ft) and has a dry weight of 650 kg (1,433 lb) – by the time it departs with its full compliment of supplies, that weight will likely go up to an estimated 1.2 tons (1 tonne). It has no motor or sails, relying entirely on two rowing stations for propulsion. Plans call for Bakos and New Zealand-based expedition partner Erik Harrewijn to take turns rowing in two-hour shifts, 24 hours a day.

Among Samson's design features are a wave-piercing nose, and the ability to right itself if it capsizes. Additionally, an alarm system will notify one rower if the other one falls overboard.

Other electronic systems planned for the expedition include an Automatic Identification System to warn other watercraft of its presence; a navigation system with autopilot; full LED interior and exterior lighting; a water purification system (which can also be operated manually); a FleetBroadband antenna and modem for internet; and, a series of mounted webcams that will provide footage for daily video reports. Everything will be powered by two Efoy fuel cells.

The 3,800-mile (6,116-km) crossing is expected to take 60 to 80 days
The 3,800-mile (6,116-km) crossing is expected to take 60 to 80 days

The 3,800-mile (6,116-km) crossing is expected to take 60 to 80 days, and is scheduled to begin next May. In the meantime, Andras and Erik are doing a lot of training, and are refining the setup of the rowing stations for maximum efficiency and safety. They're also looking for people to help fund the venture, on Indiegogo. Pledge amounts start at US$5.

"I had decided to row across the Atlantic ocean in a way that nobody else did it before," Andras told us. "Certainly it is a personal challenge as well (if it would not be, better to not even start) but the main cause is to draw the attention of the widest public possible for the critical need of the environmental preservation, as Earth is the only place where our children can live."

More information on his expedition is available in the pitch video below.

For another example of a one-of-a-kind boat designed for a human-powered ocean crossing, check out our article on the WiTHiN. It was a pedal-powered sort of "super sea kayak," that Canada's Greg Kolodziejzyk had built for a planned British Columbia-to-Hawaii expedition.

Sources: Trans-Atlantic Rowing, Indiegogo

New York - Paris, 2015 - Trans-Atlantic Rowing Expedition

28 comments
exodous
That is one freaking awesome boat.
The Skud
Looks fantastic, I would buy one in an instant if it had a drive system running off the fuel cells for when I got tired - as they will - two-hour shifts will not give much rest time when you allow time for ablutions, eating etc. He should at least double his fundraising target to allow for an escort/rescue boat like Channel swimmers for safety's sake. The 'wrong' wave or errant shipping container out there in the ocean may result in one of those "search for the missing hero" situations we already with long-distance yachtsmen.
Ozuzi
What a bs justification for an adventure, shouldn't he be more worried about his kids growing up in a world where their father drowned in the middle of the Atlantic?
Mr Elbon
It will be a red dolphin with 2 courage men inside. It's great!
Deres
I hope they will be able to close the "windows" to have a large size cabin when not paddling. They should install a radar enhancer like a lüneburg sphere to increase their chnace to be seen on radar.
Bernd Kohler
What an outrage . Under the guise of Environmental concern trying to finance an other Atlantic crossing by rowing. Rowing over the Atlantic was already done many times . To finance the whole thing in this way is quite cheeky, because it is nothing other than an ego trip . Nothing against it, but finance it by your self.
Andras Bakos
Thank you for all your comments with your opinion, which all been taken with respect. I am the founder of the expedition, so I thought I should stand here and gave a chance to talk directly. Allow me to reply on the comments: - Exodus: THANK YOU! - The Skud: LOL you right about the engine, that's would be much easier, I got this comment lots of times. :-) We ha been tested the 2 hours shift system, and you right it is quite tight, but doable with all on-board tasks. I planning to post a video about the boat safety system, which can answer lots of concerns related to this subject. We will do all to avoid "search for the missing hero" situation, time will tell how we pass the exam. - Ozuzi: fully understand your point of view. There is something strong you need to have to keep the fire to go on, this is mine. More like an unlimited energy than a justification. - Mr Elbon: yeah! Also called a whale sometimes because its size... :-) - Deres: We are! A class ocean hatched, firm locks, tested in serious security water tests! We also have the commercial vessel level of AIS system for collision avoidance, but nothing can replace our eyes and manual checking of course. - Bernd Kohler: The unique way of crossing the Atlantic refers to the new form and technology how our boat built, and the fact from going to West to East. If you have a look around, you will see, that the regular way of crossing is from West to East. We did not intended to say we are special. We wanted to say, we try do it in a different way. The environmental cause is not a tool to raise money, if you kindly have a look at our fundraising video, it is hardly mentioned. Why? Because this is a cause gives me the energy to move forward, and the reason, why I did personal investment to built the boat, what you can see already existing, that all down by personal work and investment of 3 years. Why I am looking for help now? To be-able to move forward and close the gap to fulfill this dream. I am not hiding this, this is one of the very first sentence at the fundraising page too...
Michael Z. Williamson
Harbo and Samuelson did this in 1896 in an 18' dory made of cedar and oak. I'm failing to see the "environmental" part of this.
Excalibur2811
I love this initiative. Well done on having a dream and taking it forward to execution. Too many of us just stop at the dream. I do have one suggestion for you, and no, it is not to use solar panels (you must have heard that hundreds of times already). Rather I would say that to get maximum value you could plan to make this meaningful at a personal level for children (including your children of course). This might be done by arranging for an ongoing live link (through some intermediary?) with some schools (in both departure and destination countries and across different time zones) so that they could monitor your progress live from their classrooms. Besides the broader environmental awareness aspect you would also be planting important seeds in the minds of these children and - who knows - one day one or more of them might turn into environmental champions thanks directly to this trip! It might also be cool to take a drone along so that you could send it up from time to time to get a first person view of the horizon, your own boat, and your surroundings (and transmit them to the children too!). Just remember you need to be able to recharge the batteries.. :-) Oh and I almost forgot. Try to have as much fun as you can because nothing is really meaningful in this world if you don't enjoy it!
John Hagen-Brenner
Will this actually raise a single person's areness of the enviroment? Or is this just a Green-Stamped rationalization for a rich adventurist's boondogle?