Wave-powered boat sets sail.

PopSci takes to the sea with Japanese sailor Ken-ichi Horie, 69, who has harnessed wave power to make his new ship go:

At the heart of the record-setting bid is the Suntory Mermaid II, a three-ton catamaran made of recycled aluminum alloy that turns wave energy into thrust. Two fins mounted side by side beneath the bow move up and down with the incoming waves and generate dolphin-like kicks that propel the boat forward. “Waves are a negative factor for a ship—they slow it down,” says Yutaka Terao, an engineering professor at Tokai University in Japan who designed the boat’s propulsion system. “But the Suntory can transform wave energy into propulsive power regardless of where the wave comes from.”

With a maximum speed of five knots, the Suntory will take two to three months to complete a voyage that diesel-powered craft accomplish in just one. But speed is not the point. The voyage aims to prove that wave propulsion can work under real-world conditions….

Horie’s the same fellow who crossed the Pacific once in a solar-powered boat, then in a junk-rigged catamaran made from recycled bottles and beer kegs.



  1. Oddly enough, I’ve got a copy of that book that I’ve never read. It’d been sitting on my desk at work for a year or more. I eventually brought it home. I wonder where it’s gone off to….

Comments are closed.