Crossing the Atlantic in a 16-foot boat - Soundings Online

Crossing the Atlantic in a 16-foot boat

Author:
Publish date:

After 87 days, Austrian sailor and adventurer Harald Sedlacek arrived to Palm Beach, Fla., and his name is written in the sailing history.

He made the 5,100-nautical mile trans-Atlantic crossing aboard his vessel, Fipofix, a 16-foot prototype sailboat made of volcanic rock.

Upon his arrival on Sunday, Sedlacek became the first extreme sailor to cross the North Atlantic in an only 16 feet sailing boat from continent to continent single-handed, nonstop and without any external assistance.

At the same time, Sedlacek sets another record for the longest single-handed-nonstop sailing in a 16 feet class.

The crossing was not easy from the beginning, he said. The wintry Bay of Biscay, the winter storms, the bad weather conditions in the trade wind belt, the breakdown of the autopilot and at last the partial breakdown of the rudder system demanded Sedlacek to go to the limits.

Harald Sedlacek had to control Fipofix manually nearly all the covered distance and to spend almost all time in the unprotected cockpit.

“There were many moments where I felt completely at the end and I was in danger of abandonment. In these moments I was afraid. I felt alone and unprotected,” he said. “In such moments I recalled in memory our team discussions during the project planning and the building of our volcanic prototype. I looked at the boat body, thinking of our material tests etc… During the crossing I couldn’t see any structural weakness or even damages of the boat hull. I said to myself that I am in good hands on my ‘sailing volcanic stone’ and therefore I felt safe and often instantly felt better.”

For more information, visit the project website at www.open16.com.