Southwest Windpower’s AIR Breeze becomes a part of a record-setting Arctic rowing expedition
Crossing the Arctic Ocean is not for the faint of heart. Crossing it in a rowboat is a rare test of human endurance. This year, a unique crew dubbed Arctic Row hopes to be the first to make the journey entirely under human power. They’re getting some help, but not in the way you might think. The four-crew members of Arctic Row, Neal Mueller, Paul Ridley, Collin West and Scott Mortensen, added a fifth member to their 1,100 mile expedition across the Arctic Ocean last week--Southwest Windpower’s AIR Breeze will now power the rowboat’s electrical system for their journey stretching from Canada to Russia.
Only 495 ocean rowers have successfully crossed an ocean and no one has ever completed a crossing of the frigid Arctic Ocean by rowboat, according to the Ocean Rowing Society. The team comprised of four members will take on two rowing positions at a time, trading off every two hours for 24 hours a day for the month long adventure, which is set to begin in July. Check out the crews’ video about their installation.
Seasonal offsets covered by AIR
The boat’s instruments were previously powered by solar panels, which are mounted above the cabins, and charge batteries that connect to a radio, GPS, and a navigation system; however, without adequate PV rays coming through, the team could be left stranded. With the robust and reliable power of the AIR Breeze, the team can rest assured.
The unit, provided by Southwest Windpower, is affixed on the bow, or front section of the boat’s shell, spearheading the rowboats journey. The AIR’s recognizable black blades and curved tail will landmark the rowboat mile after mile. As the team cuts through water, the AIR Breeze will worry about the wind. The crew holds no reservation about its predicted performance in the cold environment.
Man powered by passion, conservation
“Our minimalist and human-powered trip will be completely self-sufficient and will rely on the strength of the crew to propel our boat approximately four knots through the Arctic Ocean,” according to the Arctic Row website. “These relatively low travel speeds create ideal conditions for both animal observation and plankton collection.”
Arctic Row is an expedition to benefit the Arctic ecosystem and will conduct scientific research on the role of whale olfaction in feeding habits with partners from the Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation and The University of Alaska Fairbanks, according to the team’s website. Plankton samples will be collected in order to understand the food source more in-depth and its role in the ecosystem. Not to mention the team will be title bearers for the their expedition, held in the Guinness Book of World Records as the first to row across the Arctic.
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