First-ever human-powered Canada-to-Hawaii crossing postponed for a year
By Ben Coxworth
July 2, 2010
Canadian adventurer Greg Kolodziejzyk's planned attempt on the world’s first human-powered Canada-to-Hawaii crossing has been delayed. Kolodziejzyk, who has set previous records for human-powered land and water travel was to embark on the two-month trip this week in his custom-built fully-enclosed pedal-powered kayak named WiTHiN. Unfortunately, however, he encountered some difficulties with the boat that couldn’t be fixed in time to make this year’s departure window.
WiTHiN’s problems became apparent during two four-day shakedown trips on British Columbia’s protected coastal waterways, and on its large Lake Okanagan.
According to his blog, Kolodziejzyk’s first concern was the possibility of broaching (capsizing sideways) when drifting while he slept. Although a larger rudder and added weight in the stern were supposed to encourage the boat to turn downwind while drifting, he found that WiTHiN still had a tendency to turn sideways to the wind - and into the oncoming waves. “On ocean swells of 6 to 10 feet or more and the odd breaking wave, with winds from 15 to 20 knots, I think that I would capsize and roll - over and over” he stated. He has since added a horizontal wing to the rudder, in hopes of alleviating the problem.
His next concern involved the deployment of the drogue - a device that is towed underwater behind the boat, making it easier to control in rough weather. Kolodziejzyk realized that standing up and opening the pilot hatch to manage the apparatus, especially in storm conditions, would be “suicidal”. He now has a system for deploying the drogue from inside the boat (pictured below).
Excessive rolling was also an issue, as was the bow’s tendency to pierce into and submerge under waves. As these were mostly noted on the lake, Greg hopes that they won’t be as pronounced on the larger, smoother swells of the ocean. That said, he also readily admits that he needs more experience pedaling WiTHiN on overnight, open-ocean trips. To that end, he is currently in the midst of ten days of sea trials, following the beginning of the route he would take from British Columbia to Hawaii.
Hopefully, everything will be worked out in time for his planned attempt at the crossing next year. In the meantime, he will continue working on WiTHiN, rebuilding funds, and perhaps brainstorming over two of his proposed upcoming adventures - a human-powered snowmobile crossing of Greenland, and a human-powered caterpillar crossing of the Sahara Desert.
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