Francisco Lufinha will cross the Atlantic solo in 'kiteboat'

By TPN/Lusa, in News, Sport · 17-07-2021 08:00:00 · 0 Comments

Portuguese 'kitesurfer' Francisco Lufinha will cross the Atlantic Ocean solo, leaving Lisbon for the Caribbean, on a course of 6,700 kilometres "non-stop" scheduled for November.

"This adventure is the most daring challenge I have ever developed. The idea is to develop a sailing boat that is reused and adapted to be pulled by a 'kite', which is my specialty, kitesurfing," Lufinha explained in statements to Lusa news agency.

In a "challenge" that "mixes kitesurfing with sailing", the 37-year-old athlete will make a "solo crossing of the Atlantic" in a 'kiteboat' (small boat), "without any support boat".

"The idea is to go from Portugal to the Caribbean, a crossing of the Atlantic of about 3,600 nautical miles which is more or less 6,700 kilometres. Direct, without stops, alone", he explained, about the EDP Atlantic Mission.

The boat, purpose-built for the expedition, has "three hulls to be lighter and faster" and will be propelled by "the force of the wind".

Francisco Lufinha plans to start the trip during November, as the winds in the North Atlantic "are more stable" at that time.

"I would be very happy if I could make the trip in three weeks. It is possible to do it in less, but it could also go up to four, five weeks," he adds.

The athlete, who has held the world record for the longest non-stop 'kitesurfing' trip since 2015, will have to sleep in "tempo", "sitting" and "slightly leaning back".

"I developed with a German a pilot [system] that controls the 'kite' by itself. In a first phase it's electronic: I have a joystick instead of being arm-pulling. This pilot, we are still testing, takes the kite in the air doing some circles by himself so that I can sleep on the move," he said.

And he adds: "this is all fed by solar panels, which I also carry on the boat, about 700 watts of panels, and a hydro-generator, a propeller that with my speed generates energy".

About the preparation for the expedition, Francisco Lufinha says that he himself has been "developing the boat", as if he were a "mechanic or an electrician", for the eventuality of having to carry out repairs during the trip.

The kitesurfer's route will be demonstrated in real time on EDP's website and the athlete will be in communication with the Portuguese Navy to "prevent any incident".

"In case of an accident, which can always happen, like hitting an obstacle or a sunken container - we have to foresee these scenarios - I have a series of safety equipment that I can activate so that the boats that are close by can know where I am," he pointed out.

The athlete will feed himself with dehydrated food, "almost powdered", and by transforming salt water from the sea into fresh water, taking two desalinators for this.

"People say a lot that it's crazy. I don't love the word crazy because I can pass for crazy, I would say it's a bold thing, but with feet and head because we thought of many scenarios," he concluded.



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