Voyage on waves

Kenichi Horie, who has crossed the Pacific in a solar-powered boat made of recycled aluminium, is getting ready for his next solo sea adventure. The 69-year-old Japanese sailor will set out March 16 on what he says will be the world's longest voyage in a wave-powered boat. Speaking through a translator at the Hawaii Yacht Club, Mr. Horie said he would travel more than 6,400 km from Honolulu to Japan aboard a 3-tonne yacht called the Suntory Mermaid II at a speed of up to 5 knots. The boat made of recycled aluminium relies on the energy of waves to move two fins at its bow and propel it forward. Mr. Horie said it is a sturdy vessel, designed to right itself if it capsizes. But it is equipped with an engine and an 11-m sail mast for emergencies. The journey, which would take a diesel-powered boat about 10 days to complete, is expected to take him about 2.5 months. He will take along rice, canned food and microwaveable meals. And beer. Solar panels atop the catamaran will power the microwave, and Mr. Horie will have a satellite phone and access to e-mail. "With so many people supporting me, even by myself, I won't feel lonesome,' Mr. Horie said. To pass the time, he said, he would also take books and a radio. "I still think he's crazy for doing this,' said Howie Mednick, vice commodore of the Hawaii Yacht Club. But he called the voyage "historical' and "amazing.' A spokesman promoting the voyage said the sailor hoped the shipping industry would eventually adopt the clean wave technology. The journey would not be Mr. Horie's first time travelling the seas using green technology. In 1992, he powered a boat by pedalling, travelling from Hawaii to Okinawa. And in 1996, he sailed nearly 16,000 km from Ecuador to Tokyo aboard a solar-powered boat made largely from recycled aluminium beer cans.