REAL LIFE

Smallest yacht to cross the Atlantic will take three months and the skipper can’t even lie down

It's 42-inches long and 42-inches wide
The Little Boat Project, Facebook

A 33-year-old man is planning to cross the Atlantic in a 42-inch yacht with no engine, in an attempt to break a world record.

The mammoth voyage in the tiny vessel is expected to take three months but skipper Matt Kent, originally from Oregon, won’t even be able to lie down.

‘Sailing it is quite simple, living on it is harder,’ he told Yachting World. ‘We have enough space for me to sit upright, and lay my neck and spine out to decompress on the diagonal. The hatch I stand up in is just above my hip bones to prevent me from getting flipped out of the boat, though I will have a harness and tether on all the time.’

(Credit: The Little Boat Project, Facebook)

The boat, Undaunted, is painted white to reflect heat and fully insulated above the waterline. Provisions will be stowed under Mr Kent’s feet.

‘I have enough food – half freeze-dried – for six months at 1,500 calories a day,’ he said. ‘I have intentionally put on 20 extra pounds for the trip as well. My diet consists of nuts, dried fruit, protein powder, nutrition bars, a variety of soups, stews, pasta, peanut butter, Nutella and so on. I have a huge variety as well as 64,000 extra calories in the form of two gallons of olive oil to add to my food.’

He even has a heat coil wand to heat water for dinner or tea or coffee.

(Credit: The Little Boat Project, Facebook)

Unfortunately, just 24 hours into his first attempt, Mr Kent had to turn back after concerns about his boat’s seaworthiness, Yachting World reports.

‘I wasn’t really in too much danger, [but] there was a weak point in the boat that was concerning me,’ Mr Kent told the publication. ‘It was the worst, most unpredictable and erratic conditions I have ever sailed in with that boat. When it started gusting 45 knots I decided that I shouldn’t keep going with such an obvious weak link.’

Sadly, the custom-designed capsule cannot be fixed in time to avoid the hurricane season this year, so Mr Kent has been forced to postpone. He still hopes to set a record for the smallest boat ever to cross the Atlantic though.

(Credit: The Little Boat Project, Facebook)

The three-and-a-half foot aluminium microyacht is 42in long and 42in wide with a 5ft draught, 700lb lead ballast and a 40-gallon emergency water tank slung off the bottom of the keel.

‘We couldn’t make it go any faster, we couldn’t make it longer for the record,’ Mr Kent says. ‘So we focused on safety and stability and through that our stern-faced grumpy little man was born.’

During the endeavour, he’s expected to cover 4,700 nautical miles. Mr Kent, who said he lived alone in the woods for years, isn’t worried about the psychological challenge.

‘With plenty of digital media, books, daily check-ins and phone calls on the sat phone I will hardly be alone. Meditation has been a big part of my life, so the loneliness of the trip is not my biggest concern.’

Specifications

Length: 1m (42in)
Draught: 1.5m (60in)
Weight: 544kg unladen (1,200lb), or 816kg laden (1,800lb)
Hull Speed: 2.5 knots
Sail area: 49.5sq ft  (square sail) plus 27sq ft (rafee)

You can learn more about Undaunted and Matt Kent’s Atlantic crossing on his Facebook page Little Boat Project or the website littleboatproject.org

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