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Riding the waves

Known for designing unusual eco-friendly vessels, 69-year-old Japanese sailor Kenichi Horie is ready to tackle his next adventure.

On March 16, he plans to set out from Honolulu to Japan in a 31-foot wave-powered catamaran named Suntory Mermaid, according to the International Herald Tribune.

The cat is made from recycled aluminum and relies on the energy of the waves to move two fins attached to its bow that propel it forward, according to the report. The Mermaid also has a 35-foot mast and an engine in case of emergency.

Horie estimates the 4,000 mile trip will take him almost three months, and he will pack the boat with rice, canned food, microwaveable meals – and beer. He will collect power from solar panels attached to the top of the boat to run his microwave, satellite phone and computer, according to the report.

A veteran sailor, Horie, at 23, sailed from his homeland to San Francisco on his first boat, a 19-foot plywood sloop, according to his Web site ( Since then he has sailed on paddling boats, solar-powered boats and even one made out of recycled beer-brewing barrels in 1999.

-Elizabeth Ellis