Kite boat: 6000 km solo Atlantic crossing


The 38-year-old Portuguese Francisco Lufinha crosses the Atlantic in a small boat powered only by kites. Trash and containers represent the most serious danger.

Francisco Lufinha has already attracted attention in the past as an extreme sportsman and
by setting long-distance records on a kiteboard. In 2017, he and German athlete Anke
Brandt used conventional kiteboarding equipment to ride 1,400 kilometres from the Azores
to Lisbon. The port city of Cascais near Lisbon was also the starting point of his current Atlantic crossing, the destination of which is the Caribbean island of Martinique, 6,000 kilometres away. On this adventure Lufinha is sailing solo and without an escort boat. He has swapped his kiteboard for a small, 7.2-metre trimaran, whose propulsion is generated solely by kites. Lufinha uses kites because of their efficiency. When a kite is kept constantly in motion, it generates many times more propulsion than a static sail of the same size. The tiny cabin is more reminiscent of a fighter jet cockpit than a boat cabin in terms of size and appearance. It is mounted on the central hull of the 5.6-metre-wide trimaran. Lufinha controls his kites via remote control, both from the cabin and from the deck. The launch took place on 3 November 2021. After five days at sea, he had covered 1350 kilometres and reached the Canary Island of La Palma. 
 During the journey, he achieved a maximum speed of up to 31.35 km per hour. However, he had problems with his kites. Two kites could not withstand the continuous load. This issue has been addressed on the Canary Islands and the number of kites has been increased to 11. The largest kite is 25 m2 in size.

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