An Epic Journey Pushing Man and Boat to The Limits

10 August 2003

In September Jim Shekhdar, civil engineer, businessman, family man and part time oarsman will take to the Southern Oceans in an eight metre boat made of Scott Bader’s Crystic resins and gelcoats and attempt to row single handed from New Zealand, round Cape Horn, to Cape Town in South Africa.

He is already Guinness Book Record holder as the first person to row single handed across the Pacific, a feat he achieved in 2000, covering 10,500 miles in 274 days in his boat ‘Le Shark’.

Jim’s boat for this challenge, as yet unnamed, was designed by Bristol University Aerospace Engineering Department and Phil Morrison, and was built by yacht builders Blondecell of Southampton. It took 600 hours to build. As long time users of Crystic products Blondecell specified Scott Bader as the material supplier. The slightly strange looking boat used Crystic Envirotec LS88PA, Crystic 489PA skincoat and Crystic 2-420PA laminating resin. Airex foam, Kevlar and glass rovings were used as the reinforcement materials. All materials were supplied free of charge to Jim. The boat is 7.8 m long x 1.9 m beam with a cabin of 2.15 m long and 1.7 m beam x 1.9 m high, allowing Jim to stand upright.

Asked what the performance criteria was for the boat, Jim said ‘100 ft breaking waves, submersion to 25 feet, wind speeds of 50 to 80 knots and the ability to withstand temperatures ranging from 0 degrees Celsius in the water to -30 degrees air temperature’.

Commenting on the challenge facing Crystic Envirotec LS88PA Marketing Manager Nigel O’Dea said ‘When we launched the product at JEC this year we promoted it as “suiting customers looking for a reliable, high quality product with outstanding weathering performance”. Well Jim’s boat is surely going to be put through the whole gambit of stresses and strains and we are confident when Jim rows the boat into Cape Town Harbour it will look as good as the day it left the dock in New Zealand.’

John Abraham, Gelcoat Development Manager at Scott Bader said ‘Jim is in good hands with the product combination selected. All Crystic products have been through extensive development programmes and we are confident they will see Jim through his arduous journey. The combination of low temperatures, crashing waves and high winds will create extremely demanding conditions for both Jim and the boat. We wish him well for a safe and successful voyage.’

Jim hopes to achieve the trip in seven months but is taking food for 12! He is still looking for sponsors. Anyone interested in finding out more can read about Jim’s plans on his website.

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