Kayak from Australia to New Zealand completely unsupported and unassisted.
- Guinness World Record for longest unsupported transoceanic double kayak expedition
- First ever kayak expedition across the Tasman Sea (unassisted, unsupported or otherwise)
Distanced anticipated: 2200km
Distance Covered: 3318km
Days on the Ice: 62 days
Kayak weight (inc kayakers): 950kg
On November 13th 2008, after 3 and a half years of planning, Jonesy along with expedition partner Cas set off in their custom built kayak, Lot 41 from Forster, NSW. Forster was selected as a departure point due to it’s proximity to the East Australia Current
Initially phenomenal progress was made. In 5 days they had paddled over 500km. Day two in fact saw the boys paddled 178km in 24 hours. The EAC and the Tasman Front current had helped propel Lot 41 towards New Zealand.
In the middle of the Tasman Sea, they were hit by a storm that raised 10metre seas and 100km/h plus hour winds. This storm kept the boys captive for 4 days and pushed them into a centre of a current whirlpool that forced them into a two week loop in the centre of the Tasman Sea. After breaking free they had issues with sharks, barnacles, severe food and sleep deprivation, wasting muscles and adverse weather conditions.
A number of critical pieces of equipment had broken down along the expedition. The electrical desalinator, broke on day 13. The VHF radio, one of the three electrical bilges, amongst other things. Luckily the two had though up at least one level of redundancy. For the most important pieces of equipment there was either 2 or 3 levels of redundancy.
Prior to the expedition they had been expecting that 60-70% of the wind would aid them towards New Zealand. On the ditch however they only experienced 6 days out of 62 where the weather conditions actually helped them
Finally after 62 days out at sea the boys pulled onto dry land at Ngamotu Beach, New Plymouth on the North Island of New Zealand. They were greeted by 25,000 people down at the foreshore. Over the course of the journey their website logged 1.6million individual unique viewers and on the day of arrival.
The fundamental consideration in designing Lot 41 was to design her around all the safety equipment that the boys would need to survive 2 months at sea AND what safety equipment they needed to make the journey possible and within an acceptable safety margin.
Some of the major pieces of equipment included:
- A Tracplus tracking beacon pulsed out their position live to RCC in NZ, Australia and live to their website.
- Comar Class B transponder informed shipping traffic of their position when in radar line of sight.
- Katadyn electrical and manual desalinators were used to provide fresh water
- Iridium Satellite phone paired with a Panasonic toughbook was used to communicate to the outside world and provide images and audio clips for their website updates.
- 2 man liferaft
- Electric and manual bilge systems for every compartment of the kayak.
- Buoyancy foam
- 3 deep cycle car batteries and solar panels to charge all electrical equipment
The boys wore Icebreaker Merino Wool base layers whilst paddling and Kokatat shell wear and survival suits when required.
There have been so many people that we’re indebted to for helping us on this journey. In particular the following people formed a crucial portion of the team that enabled us to complete this expedition
Pat Brothers - Expedition Logistical and Crisis Manager
Tom Mitchell - Expedition Spokesperson
Graham and Sue Chapman - Kayak construction
David Johnston - Expedition Engineer
Ben Barin - Digital Media Advice
Steve Vermey - Kayak and Fitness Coach
Roger Badham - Meteorologist
Terry Wise - Sailing Advice and Ocean Strategy
Kevin Olsen - Materials and composite analyst
Rob Feloy - Kayak Designer
Craig Thomsen - Electrical System Design
Rod and Chin Jones - Thanks for helping us finance the start of this journey
John and Viv Castrission - Thanks for allowing us to take over your garage for 18 months!
This expedition would not have been possible without without the financial, media and product support from the following companies: (Perhaps these would be best visually represented)
- Fiberglass International
- Rush Labs
- Resi Mortgage Corporation
- Australian Geographic
- Pacific Sailing School
- Pretorius Vitamins
- Dick Smith Foods
- Aussie Bodies
- Activate Outdoors
- Back Country Cuisine
- Rudy Project