PedalTheOcean.com human powered ocean crossing expedition from Canada to Hawaii is canceled.
When I conceived of this expedition to cross an ocean by human power 4 years ago, it was my goal to demonstrate to the world, the incredible distances a mere human can travel under his/her own power without the assistance of burning fossil fuels or help from any other energy source such as electricity or wind power (sail). I would be remiss if I did not disclose to you that another important reason for the adventure was a deeply personal one. I wanted a challenge bold enough that would allow me to explore my own limits – both physical and mental. I also wanted to learn something new and experience another great journey, for I really do believe that life is all about the journey and not the destination.
After an incredible 4 year journey just to get to the start line, which consisted of expedition planning, boat design, boat building and numerous sea trial trips, I have come to the very disappointing conclusion that crossing the Pacific ocean from Canada to Hawaii in my human powered boat WiTHiN, is now outside of my personal risk/reward threshold.
Rick Willoughby and I designed WiTHiN to be the most efficient vessel capable of crossing an ocean under human power, and I believe that we have succeeded, for I am not aware of any other offshore capable, self supporting human powered boat that is as efficient as WiTHiN in converting human power to forward motion over a very large body of water. Our second goal was to design a boat that was safe, and I also believe that we have achieved this because WiTHiN could roll over a hundred times with me safely sealed-up inside the water-tight cockpit or sleeping cabin.
I believe that where I have failed, is investing too little consideration for general stability and comfort in moderate to advanced off-shore weather conditions. Because of WiTHiN’s narrow, but slippery beam of only 36 inches, she rolls excessively. After six sea trials trips where I have been repeatedly exposed to 25 to 40 knot winds and seas between 3 to 4 meters, I have discovered that I can barely withstand a few hours of this cruel punishment, whereas I would have to live through days or weeks of bad weather on a 3 month ocean crossing journey. It’s exciting for sure, but just not really very fun.
I believe that this rolling and sometimes violent bouncing around action adds considerable risk to a long ocean crossing. There were times during sea trials where the water level came close to flooding through open portlights. Late ocean rower Nenad Belic’s row boat was a similar capsule-like design as WiTHiN, and after he disappeared 481 miles off the coast of Ireland, the coast guard found his boat capsized and flooded with the top hatch missing.
As I have said in a previous blog post – excitement for me is pedaling a human powered vehicle around a 1/4 mile race track non-stop for 24 hours, or running a 100 miles in 30 hours. (I know – danger is my middle name – right?) The idea of spending day after day with a white-knuckled grasp on my seat, throwing up, scared for my life trapped in a coffin sized capsule is just not something I’m interested in experiencing for days on end.
I would like to extend my sincerest apologies to sponsors, friends, family members and other individuals who have supported my dream by generously contributing their expertise, time, skills, encouragement, and financial / equipment / supplies sponsorship. I feel like I have failed you and I hope to make it up to you someday with some other future human powered adventure.
My financial contribution to this project was very far beyond what I had originally budgeted, and I am in the position where I need to devote some time now to earning income again. I have thought about putting WiTHiN up for sale, but I doubt she would fetch anywhere close to the amount that I invested into building her. I do believe that her design makes her a viable and capable human powered vessel for certain types of water passages, and I really look forward to more human powered adventures with her in the future – like maybe Vancouver Island circumnavigation record attempt with Bryon, navigating the inside passage to Alaska, or maybe a journey down the Mississippi river. If you have any ideas, let me know.
As for future adventures, Helen and I fly to New York state tomorrow to run the Virgil Crest 100 mile ultra marathon on Saturday. Helen is running the 50 miler, and this will be my 3rd attempt to complete a full 100 miles. My first shot at the 100 was last summer’s Sinister 7 ultra where I had to quit after 110 km due to blisters, and my second attempt at the Lost Sole ultra in Lethbridge where I dropped out just short of half-way. You can follow our progress at the web site: http://www.virgilcrestultras.com/ or for live race updates on your mobile device: http://mobile.virgilcrestultras.com/
After that, we fly to Spain for a cycling vacation and then I’m competing at Ironman St George in May.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else.” To me, It’s about your outlook towards life. You can either regret or rejoice – your choice.
Have a great day,