European duo plan first solar-powered Northwest Passage

Raphaël Domjan and Anne Quéméré will be taking on the 3,000km Northwest Passage in a solar-powered kayak, fitted with a Torqueedo electric outboard

The Northwest Passage is a fearsome journey even in a sturdy motor boat, but since he has already circumnavigated the world on Planet Solar, Raphaël Domjan fancied an even bigger challenge for this summer.

The 43-year-old Swiss adventurer has announced that he will be setting off this month in an attempt to navigate the northern coast of Canada on a solar-powered kayak.

His partner on this arduous journey will be Anne Quéméré, a French kayaker who holds the record for fastest woman to row across the Atlantic.

Their humble vessel for this 3,000km journey will be fitted with photo voltaic solar panels attached to a Torqeedo Ultralight 403 outboard engine – the lightest mass-production outboard on the market at just 7kg including battery.

Raphaël and Anne hope to power their kayak for 14 hours a day at an average speed of 7kmh (3.7 knots), meaning the Northwest Passage will take them a grand total of three months to complete.

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They will follow the route discovered by Roald Amundsen in 1895, starting at Tuktoyaktuk, passing through Cambridge Bay, Gjoa Haven and the Bellot Strait, before finishing up at Pond Inlet on Baffin Bay in September.

Northwest Passage route

The pair will benefit from 20 hours of sunlight per day and hope to prove the viability of solar power for propulsion, even in the most inhospitable of environments.

If they can successfully navigate the constantly shifting ice and cope with the highly treacherous conditions then they will etch their names into the record books as the first people to complete the Northwest Passage in an electric-powered kayak.


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