Danny Sunkel’s world-first rowboat has been launched in ahead of his attempt to achieve the first ever solo trans-Tasman double crossing next summer.
The innovative wave piercing trimaran rowboat will be on show at this weekend’s Auckland Boat Show before returning to Tauranga for the installation of the rowing station.
Danny Sunkel and his new innovative rowboat at the Nautilus Apartments in Sulphur Point.
“The main structure of the boat’s all finished, we just need to finish building the rowing set up, because the riggers are critical if they break its all over,” says Tauranga based Danny.
The rowing station, where Danny will live most of his time on board as he rows across the Tasman and back, is going to be as unconventional as the rest of the boat.
“It’s definitely not conventional, so we need to make sure its engineered right. On Friday I just picked up all the wheels for it. Salt water is not the best environment, and a typical problem on most ocean rowing boats is the wheels seizing.”
He’s looking at going for his first row in three to four weeks.
Meanwhile the shore based fitness programme is continuing with Danny building up to a 20 hours land-based ergonomic rowing on June 30.
Over the winter he’s expecting to get some time on the water as he works up to the departure on the first leg scheduled for summer 2013.
The plan is to row from the Hokianga to a landfall somewhere in northern area of New South Wales near the border with Queensland.
The return journey will be attempted later the same year when he hopes to pick up the westerlies towards the end of September-October, and set out from southern New South Wales - northern Victoria region.
Danny cracks champagne to launch his rowboat.
Getting the unique Craig Loomes design into the water has taken three years to the day from when he first started working on the project, says Danny.
The main hull of the self-righting multi-hull is 10.8m. With the side hulls the length overall is about 11.8m.
Built from foam and carbon fibre at Pachoud’s in Sulphur Point it’s been a bit of ‘cloak and dagger’ operation with Danny playing aspects of the design and build close to his chest because of growing interest from competitors in the world of long distance rowing.
Fully loaded the craft will weigh about 900-1000kg with Danny on board.
He says it’s about the same or slightly heavier than most solo boats, which are in the region of 800-1000kg, but is more efficient in many ways.
“We have built as light as we possibly can, but at the end of the day I have got to survive in it too. It’s still going to be lighter than the other boats given that it is a considerable bit bigger.”
The foam cores for the outriggers and floats were machined on the five axis cutter at CAD 3D Profiles and Mouldings in Birch Avenue.
Danny is going to use a water maker and carry spares, but he’s also thinking about emergency water collectors just in case.
The wave piercing bow of Danny’s boat is a solution to a big problem facing long distance rowers – the boat slows down every time it encounters a wave.
When the boat weighs close to a tonne and the waves are ocean rollers, Danny says a rower can easily go backwards.
The wave piercing bow breaks the wave allowing the boat through the wave crests with reduced loss of momentum and less effort. A porpoise-brow curl back from the prow breaks the wave, preventing the boat from becoming a submarine, or burying itself when running down a trough.
If anyone wants to get involved, Danny can be contacted email@example.com