Swiss adventurer Raphaël Domjan and French kayaker Anne Quéméré are planning to navigate the Northwest Passage together and doing so while only relying on a solar-powered kayak.

An attempt to pass through that route has been done before, but never in a solar-powered kayak that has been fitted with photo voltaic solar panels that will presumably help power the kayak. The panels will be attached to a 7 kg Torpedo Ultralight 403 outboard engine, considered as the lightest mass-production outboard on the market today.

Dangerous attempts like this is nothing new for Domjan, who already counts circumnavigating the world in his resume. But this is a different challenge altogether, even with the help of Quéméré, who herself is no stranger to maritime adventures.

The duo plan to set sail from Tuktoyaktuk in the Inuvik Region of the Northwest Territories, Canada all the way to the Pond Inslet on Baffin Bay in the southwest coast of Greenland. Domain and Quéméré are expected to have as much as 20 hours of sunlight per day, which would prove useful if they’re going to accomplish their objective. Should everything beyond their control come together, the two plan to row their kayak for 14 hours a day, reaching speeds in excess of 4.35 miles per hour, allowing them to complete their objective of crossing the Northwest Passage in three months.

Continue reading to read more about Raphaël Domjan and Anne Quéméré’s attempt to become the first people to cross the Northwest Passage in an electric-powered kayak.

Why it matters

It matters because no one has ever done it before. That part alone is why Raphaël Domjan and Anne Quéméré’s attempt to navigate the Northwest Passage on a solar-powered kayak is a big deal.

Notwithstanding the obvious of me not knowing what it must feel like to ride a solar-powered kayak while navigating the Northwest Passage, I think what Domjan and Quéméré are doing should be given its proper attention. For starters, it’s pretty dangerous to do what they’re planning to do in a kayak, let alone one that relies largely on the sun to get out and about.

Then there’s that part of doing it in the part of the world, which is known for being one of the last Nautical Grails in the world. It’s maintained that reputation for a reason since many have tried to do it, only to be met with unspeakable tragedy in the process.

I’m not sure if many of you have heard of Sir John Franklin. He was British Royal Navy officer and Arctic explorer who disappeared without a trace while trying to chart and navigate around the Northwest Passage back in 1845. His disappearance became the stuff of legend in both the UK and the US, but it’s also a cautionary tale of what happens when you try to navigate through a place that’s as dangerous as any place in the world.

I hope that Domjan and Quéméré are successful in their attempt, if only because doing so would mean that they survived the Passage. But their safety is still of paramount importance so if it happens that either aren’t able to continue, I hope that they’re both smart enough to know that chasing after this record isn’t worth what they might have to give up.

Source: Raphael Domjan

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