Francisco Lufinha will cross the Atlantic solo on a kiteboat

July 16, 2021 | Kiteboarding
Francisco Lufinha: the kitesurfer wants to cross the Atlantic on a trimaran powered by a kite | Photo: Lufinha

Francisco Lufinha aims to cross the Atlantic Ocean on a trimaran powered by a kite.

The experienced Portuguese kitesurfer adapted a multi-hull boat that is able to sail the rough sea using a towing kite propulsion system.

Lufinha hopes to leave Portugal and arrive in the Caribbean three to four weeks later, depending on the weather and ocean conditions.

The solo mission is estimated to be around 3,620 nautical miles (6,700 kilometers), and it's his boldest project ever.

The boat pulled only by the force of a kite also features solar panels and a hydro generator, meaning that no fossil fuel will be used during the crossing.

Francisco Lufinha plans to cross the Atlantic without a support boat powered only by wind energy.

The kiteboat is the result of three years of research and development.

The kitesurfer and his team had to combine the characteristics of a light and fast trimaran with the benefits and advantages of a nearly standard kite.

Lufinha will test the prototype boat off the Portuguese coast and in high seas with more demanding conditions.

Francisco Lufinha's kiteboat: equipped with solar panels and a hydro generator | Photo: Lufinha

Pushing the Limits

The kitesurfer expects to kick off his adventure in November 2021.

"During the crossing, I will test my limits like never before," revealed the Portuguese sailor.

"I will need to control the kite in the air for days and overcome the accumulated tiredness of sleeping only 20 minutes at a time."

"I will also have to make my own drinking water through a desalinator and feed myself with dehydrated meals, all this while I try to stick to the right route and navigate through the winds and tides until I see land again."

Lufinha partnered with a German specialist to develop a system that allows the boat to control the kite using technology.

"In the first phase, it's electronic. I have a joystick instead of pulling my arms. This system, which we are still testing, takes the kite in the air to make some circles on its own so I can sleep on the go," added Lufinha.

"This is all powered by 700-watt solar panels and a hydro generator, a propeller that generates energy with my speed."

The athlete will be in communication with the Portuguese Navy in case of an emergency.

"In the event of an accident, which can always happen, such as hitting an obstacle or a sunken container - we have to predict these scenarios - I have a series of safety equipment that I can activate, so that nearby vessels know where I am," underlined Francisco.

A World Record Breaker

The Portuguese adventurer has been pushing the limits of kiteboarding for nearly a decade.

In 2013, Lufinha set a new Guinness World Record for the longest kiteboarding journey after sailing for 307.5 nautical miles (569 kilometers) along the Portuguese coastline.

One year later, he rode his kite for 12 hours between the Savage Islands (Ilhas Selvagens) and Funchal in Madeira, Portugal, for a total of 303 kilometers (163 nautical miles).

In 2015, the Portuguese could not complete a 1,000-kilometer (539 nautical miles) kite cross between Lisbon and Madeira but sailed 874 kilometers (472 nautical miles) and improved his previous record.

Finally, in 2017 Francisco Lufinha and German kiteboarder Anke Brandt completed an intercalated kite cross between the Azores and mainland Portugal.

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