Once upon a time, sailors who had crossed the Atlantic could tattoo a sailboat, but without the sails hoisted: those were reserved only for those who had dubbed Cape Horn. Today the game is to make the crossing more and more unusual. For example, in solitaire and on smaller and smaller boats, in the wake of Alfred “Centennial” Johnson, the American fisherman born in Denmark who in 1876 (centenary of U.S. independence, hence his nickname) sailed on a Dory, a fishing boat open 6.1 meters, from Massachusetts to Wales “I made that trip because I was a damned fool, just as they said I was. I made that trip because I was a damn fool, just as they said I was”. he would answer as an old man to anyone who asked him about his initiative.
The next to try the enterprise will be Matt Kent. To raise funds for the environmental education program Bioreserve will try to cross the great sea from the Canary Islands to Florida with Undaunted a boat of only 42″ long: 1.06 meters. Imagine how it could be to be alone for four months in a box where you can’t even lie down… The first sailing experiments of this aluminium box, higher than long, fishing 1.5 meters, with a square sail as propulsion, have highlighted problems of stability, when the helmsman sat on deck to hold the rudder, then corrected. Of course, at 2.5 knots top speed the crossing will be tough, so when you leave Undaunted will also be fully equipped with an AIS system, GPS, satellite phone, standard marine safety equipment, redundant manual desalination pumps for drinking water, a 105 ampere/hour battery, solar charging systems and crank mechanism, 40 gallons of emergency drinking water and food supplies to supplement a 1500 calories/day diet plan for up to 130 days.
At the moment, however, the hopes of the young American have been stopped for a few months now by the laws and the coast guard of La Gomeira, in the Canary Islands: he has requested a certificate of insurance on the boat for a value of at least 300 thousand euros and a letter from the U.S. Coast Guard stating that the boat has been declared and is expected at the end of the crossing. As things stand, it seems that the experiment will be postponed for a few more months.