Support boat thoughts

Much in keeping with my previous adventures and experiences, I am trying to keep PedalTheOcean about optimal human performance and state of the art human powered boat efficiency - much like what I did with Critical Power human powered vehicle 24 hour distance record . As I have said before, one of our biggest problems today as a society is a result from this pursuit of achieving more with MORE. Faster cars, bigger stuff, MORE of everything. We need to change that and I am trying to show the world how we can achieve more with LESS. And that it's cool and fun! I wrote a little more about that in Dec of last year.

That said, I am prepared to spend some considerable expense on a really great support system including a support yacht and crew. I want to make this clear - this challenge is NOT about doing a solo, unsupported survival adventure across the Atlantic ocean. I have the highest respect for those who do that like current ocean crossers Roz Savage, Jason Lewis, Bhavic, Ralph Tuijn and previous ocean crossing expeditions Leven Brown, Greg Spooner, Colin and Julie, and the many others I follow and have followed.

My 'thing' is the combination of technology and human performance. A fully supported human powered Atlantic speed record attempt is exactly what this expedition is. The support / safety boat will accompany me and provide supplies, traffic lookout, water making, equipment backups, communications, repairs, food, company and even occasionally a safe place to escape to (if ocean conditions allow). This allows me to focus on designing and building the fastest, most efficient human powered ocean boat possible, and my ability to pedal the machine 3000 miles across the Atlantic ocean in less than 40 days.

24 hour human powered world record
650 miles

human powered mega-meter world record
23.1 hours

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7 Responses to “Support boat thoughts”

  1. # Blogger Bryon

    ... Greg ... great thougts.
    Why go solo? (Your purpose is to consider what is possible ... more is possible with synergy.)
    You are the person you are not because of doing everyting on your own.
    You have shared your thanks for all the supportive people around you in many postings previous.
    You are who you are ... because of the people you have been blessed to grow with ... and have chosen to associate with.

    We can be better, faster, stronger, smarter ... with the synergy of other folk.

    Go fast across Atlantic - in a self propelled boat. Have a support boat to make the experience bigger, greater, and more involving for all the folk who are watching and supporting you. (... and make it safer - and less worrisome for all the people who love you.)
    Dream on ...
    bryon howard  

  2. # Anonymous Anonymous

    If you have decided to be fully supported across the ocean, including meals, water and repairs, things should be much simpler. Within can be much lighter and strength and safety are much less of a worry since you probably won't see any big storms on your crossing and you won't die if you do.

    Peter Raymond

    A sailboat that can keep up with you and is set up to carry enough fuel for the crossing seems like a good support boat solution. I don't want to make it sound too easy, but flexible fuel bladders and good ventilation should do it. I think this is already done for deliveries. Sailboats are proven, safe, fuel efficient and available and there is a good market for used boats on both sides of the Atlantic, so in theory the cost of the boat may not be that bad.

    If the sailboat is using the engine the whole time, you could set up the boom as a hoist. You could lift Within up on deck into a cradle for storms or repairs. This would let you really simplify the drive leg mounting. Would this cause any problems with the record if the lift-out and launching locations are GPS recorded?

    A power boat would be significantly more expensive. At the same time though, a sailboat fast enough to consistently keep up under sail would be tough to find and probably more expensive still. If you go the sailboat route I would recomend a crew with sailing experiance. If everything goes to hell you can finish the trip under sail.

    If you go this way I predict an impressive finish time!  

  3. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Whoops! Thought that signature was at the end.

    Peter Raymond  

  4. # Blogger Adventures of Greg

    Thanks for the comment Peter.

    I have not yet got as far as thinking about what kind of support boat, or how to provide support. What I do know is from what others have told me regarding replying on a support boat too much. Generally, they say it is pretty dangerous to transfer daily between the boat and my boat, so that probably won't happen. I'm sort of thinking of a resupply of food and water every 5 days or so. I'd still have to sleep on Within. However, the support boat should make things quite a bit easier on me, like looking out for other traffic and allowing me to sleep, making my water for me, providing me with charged batteries, repairs, spare parts, etc, etc. This will allow me to focus on the human performance aspect of the challenge.


  5. # Anonymous Mike McGeough


    I have some naive thoughts on a support boat. Sailboat: If using sails, the maneuverablility is resticted because wind dictates, to some extent, to direction and a sailboats direction is rarely a straight line. under power a sail boat is restricted 1) because of limited fuel storage and 2)being under power on a sail boat in the open ocean is a very uncomforable thing. Powerboat: There are two concerns I can see. 1) an offshore power boat has a range of about 3000 miles and from what I have read needs to refuel twice to cross the Atlantic and 2)to be comfortable in open water there is a need to maintain boat speed for the stablizers to be effective (my guess is over 5 knots)which be a problem in trying to match the pace of Within.

    Two people you might want to touch base with are Jim Leishman at Nordhavn who has offshore power experience and Ben Gray from Grand Prarie who recently went around the world under power (website is: Both of them would likely have ideas on issues a support boat would run into.

    Mike McGeough  

  6. # Anonymous Mike

    One more thought. Idlewild is for sale and has a range of 5000 miles.


  7. # Blogger Adventures of Greg

    Hi Mike:

    These are some of the things I am now learning and this looks like it might be a problem.

    As far as maneuvering to meet up with Within in the ocean, I have been speaking with some of the guys who run the support sail yacht for some of the Atlantic rowing races, and they say that it is difficult, but that a once weekly kind of rendezvous to replenish supplies would probably work - especially if I have better control and speed than an ocean rowing boat. I would be able to maneuver to a line to pick up a floating package without issue in most sea conditions. Something that will definitely have to be practiced in advance.

    Speed is an issue though, as you said, I may indeed end up being faster than most small sail boats - especially during periods of low wind. Refueling for a power boat could be tricky. It also could be quite hard to rent a power boat for the journey, and they want a half million for Idlewild!

    I need to borrow EarthRace when they finish going around the world!

    Keep thinking, and keep the ideas flowing.

    Greg K  

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