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Austrian Skipper Will Attempt Record Setting Solo Sail Aboard 18-Meter Eco-Friendly Yacht

On August 15th, 60-year-old Austrian Norbert Sedlacek Koch will begin an around the world, single-handed, non-stop, and without assistance, sailing venture navigating through some of the most treacherous waters on the planet.
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The 32,000 nautical miles (51,499 km) journey, dubbed 'Ant Arctic Lab,' will take place aboard Koch's Innovation Yachts Open 60AAL, testing the direction and sustainability of the vessel's fully recyclable yacht building concept. He is the founder of the company that leads the industry in building boats from Volcanic fibers.

The voyage is expected to take six months and will be the ultimate test of the former Vienna Tram operator-turned sailor's seamanship capabilities. This will not be a maiden voyage for the experienced sailor. He was the first German-speaking skipper to compete in the Vende Globe, arguably the most difficult sailing race in the world, and did so on two occasions. Koch also completed his first circumnavigation of the world, spanning two years and 26,000 miles (41,843 km) from 1996-1998.

The IY Open 60AAL was built using fully recyclable and sustainable materials, testing the limits of responsible boat-building solutions. She is fully electric with two electric motors that also provide hydroelectricity while under sail. Solar panels provide additional energy and allow the vessel to be totally self-sufficient. She is 60 feet (18.28 meters) long with a beam of 19.1 feet (5.82 meters). The hull is constructed of volcanic fiber with a balsa core and a 20,943 pound (950 kg) displacement.

In an excerpt from the Innovation Yachts website, the company says, “The nautical shipbuilding industry has a major role to play in encouraging respect for the environment and in producing clean products and technologies. We believe shipyards-such as Innovative Yachts, that embrace green technology and reduced floating footprint (through recycled materials, reduced carbon emissions, and sustainability) show responsibility for our environment to future end customers.”

Embarking from Les Sables d'Olonne, France, the journey will take Koch and the vessel carrying 2,400 pounds (1,088 kg) of supplies through the North Atlantic Ocean and into the Barents Sea, rounding the Svalbard Archipelago before skirting the eastern coast of Green southbound. Slicing between Greenland and the western coast of Iceland, the route continues south along the entire length of the North and South Atlantic Oceans, then east around the Cape of Good Hope on the African continent.

Sailing easterly through the icy waters of the Southern Ocean, Koch will then skipper the yacht clockwise around the entire landmass of Antarctica. Rounding the western shore of the southern polar continent, the journey then will cross the Drake Passage to round Cape Horn at the bottom of the South American continent.

The final leg of the journey has the vessel heading north passing the Falkland Islands and the eastern shores of Brazil before once again crossing the North Atlantic and returning to Les Sables d'Olonne.

The voyage will be tracked by ISAX, providing updates every four hours.

 
 
 
 
 

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