"Within" human powered ocean boat

The design of the human powered ocean boat "Within" is a collaboration between myself, Rick Willoughby, Stevie Smith and Leven Brown

Rick Willoughby had been designing and building human powered boats in Australia for over 10 years. He is an enthusiastic contributor and known authority with the online human powered boats community.

Stevie Smith has pedaled Moksha - a two-person pedal boat across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. As part of Expedition360, Stevie brings a valued and very specific expertise to this project!

Leven Brown recently completely a trans Atlantic rowing expedition on his boat Columbus Run.

"Within" is a very narrow, self-righting single passenger human powered ocean boat. The hull is based on a sea kayak hull with slightly higher side walls, and a rounded top. To accomplish stability in rough sea conditions, weight is distributed very low in the vessel, and additional ballast in a keel will be suspended below the prop on the drive leg.

Water tight forward and rear compartments will ensure that the boat cannot sink, and the low center of gravity will ensure that it up-rights immediately upon a capsize.

A transparent dome is fitted on the retractable canopy top. The canopy top should be closed and sealed if the ocean conditions are rough which will allow the pedaling compartment to be mostly water tight and dry with adequate ventilation This should further increase safety in the event of a capsize, and will allow continued operation in rough seas. If ocean conditions are calm, then Within can be operated with the canopy in the retracted position. Scuppers with plugs or bilge pumps can be used to keep the pedaling compartment dry if it is being used with the canopy top retracted.

Steering is accomplished by standard kayak rudders and cables (not shown). Control of the rudder via access to the rudder cables is available from both the pedal station and from inside the sleeping compartment.

The drive leg will consist of standard cranks and pedals with two right-angle gear boxes connected by a shaft which will drive a two-bladed prop. The drive leg will be shrouded with a water-tight fairing.

This image shows one option for compartments. The rear compartment is water-tight when the door between the rear compartment and the pedaling station is closed. This could be used for some equipment and supplies storage as well as sleeping. A disadvantage of using this configuration to sleep, is the inconvenience of having to
open the hatch to look out for ships through the bubble.

The pedaling station would be water tight with the canopy top closed, and could have drain holes for allowing water to run out when operating with the canopy top open. If the boat is being operated with the canopy top open, it would be important to make sure that both hatches to the forward and rear compartments are closed and sealed, in the event of a capsize.

The forward compartment is water-tight and accessible through a hatch door. This would be where most of the food and equipment would be stored.

3 or 4 solar panels are fastened along the rounded top at the bow and stern which will provide electricity to charge batteries which will power the electronics and desalinator

Estimated weight of Within is between 1000 to 1500 pounds including supplies and ballast. I based this on some other ocean rowing expeditions:

Leven Browns supplies weighed 595 pounds (150 days).
Tinys boat + supplies weighed 2000 pounds (100 days)
Around-n-overs boat weighed 550 pounds with 770 pounds supplies and 330 pounds of ballast
Fedor Konyukhovs boat weighed 771 pounds and 1100 pounds for supplies (this may include water ballast?) (4 months)
Zeeman Challenger boat weighs 880 pounds and 1325 pounds of supplies (9 months)

Speed estimate based on 150W of power and an overall efficiency of 80% is about 5 knots (9 kph).

Construction photos and computer renderings:

Equipment list:

Electronics Other Safety Emergency grab bag
lap top (Panasonic Tough book) freeze dried food for 75 days lifejacket EPIRB
backup computer
(hand held device like pocket PC)
tookkit + small spare parts safety harness & line strobe flashing light
Satellite Telephone (voice and data) spare drive unit EPIRB signalling mirror
VHF radio water maker medical kit whistle
backup VHF radio back-up watermaker liferaft foil blanket
batteries sea anchor emergency water 2 flares
solar panels compass flares 6 light sticks
solar panel controller sponges oars knife
Sea Me Radar Transponder clothing fire extinguisher small compass
fixed GPS navigation lights fire blanket flashlight
backup GPS (hand held) water containers throwing line 2 bottles water
backup GPS (2nd hand held) eating containers and utensils signalling mirror chocolate
battery monitor cooking gas (propane) mini first aid kit
video camera navigation charts emergency fishing kit
still camera mask and flippers
iPod extra foam padding
spare iPod seat and sleeping harness
satellite radio camelback/water bags
amp and speakers epoxy and fiberglass repair
spare headphones, earbuds


Argos beacon

small hand axe

Radar reflector (activ-echo) flashlight
fishing kit
cooking stove
back-up cooking stove
sleeping bag - blankets
matches, lighter

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