Latest news article on Undaunted

A huge thanks to Ron Leonardi for publishing the latest progress of our little boat project. As of today, we are about one month away from Matt and Undaunted's launch! Be sure to check out the full article HERE!

The whole idea is to show and explain the preparation and design work that have gone into this project,’’ Kent said. “Hopefully, this voyage goes very well and is uneventful. I think it is a testament to everybody who has helped me reach this stage.

Undaunted is on his way!

Last week with the help of some friends, a significant amount of bubble wrap, and half a roll of packing tape, we packed and loaded Undaunted onto a trailer and hauled him to a container shipping company in Boston.  Today he was loaded onto the ship itself and will begin a month's long journey to the Canaries where we will meet him February 27th to get ready for the big journey back.

Dropping off Undaunted for shipment last week held mixed emotions for both Matt and me. First was a sigh of relief. As far as the building and designing that has been put into Undaunted, Matt has done all that he can at this point and can take a breather from the last few weeks of hard work and planning it took to get Undaunted ready on time. Some of the remaining details include fitting and final installation of the emergency flotation system*. Once we meet Undaunted in the Canaries, get him unpacked and the system attached, Matt will spend the rest of his time doing a final test of all systems and making adjustments as needed before sailing out, which he is hoping to do around the 10th of March. 

I was able to share in the initial sigh of relief knowing that we were able to get Undaunted ready and packed up on time. However, I still have a lot of coordinating to do with agents in both the U.S. and Spain to make sure our little boat makes it to the Canaries on schedule.

Other than keeping our social media and websites updated and contacting various companies for requests of donations, my main job through this project has become figuring out the entire shipment process for Undaunted. It was weeks of cold internet searches to find a shipping company that could handle Undaunted's dimensions and weight, and then making sure that it also fit our budget and in a reliable time frame (we estimated guesses of anywhere from 28-60 days). When that was finally settled, it came down to endless phone calls and email chains just to figure out what kind of paperwork we needed to fill out and submit in order for Undaunted to leave the country. Who knew how complicated this would be! I spend most of my computer time these days emailing with agents in Spain who are not only in a different time zone than us here on the East Coast, but also have a different work day/week schedule. Ugh! Send three questions to be answered and maybe get one of them answered or be asked something completely different that was already covered (multiple times in fact) over several emails ago. Long story short, if anyone is thinking about attempt a project that requires them to deal with the hassles of over seas shipment and clearing customs, come see me!

So now we wait. Having Undaunted out of our hands is both relieving and nerve wracking. Our little guy is packed tightly into a shipping container with who knows what else, and is on a long journey across the Atlantic and through two separate custom check points before he comes back into our possession. As the main contact for keeping in touch with everyone I find that will have their hands in pushing Undaunted along, I sit here hoping I did everything I needed to in order for Undaunted to make it. I also can't help but put the worry of failing on myself if something goes wrong... So I wait...

- C. Soltis

*In the meantime, I mentioned that Matt will be working on the emergency floatation system. It is a custom design using three vinyl white water rafting tubes fit to the front and sides of Undaunted. Combined, the tubes can float and hold the total weight of Undaunted, all his contents, and a hull full of seawater if taken on by a surprise wave or leak. They are filled by tanks that contain enough CO2 to inflate the tubes up to three times.

Almost ready to ship out!

It’s been a busy few weeks with Undaunted here in Albany, but we’re in the final days of preparation to ship the Little Boat to the Canary Islands! We’ve been posting pictures to Instagram and updating our gallery pages as we go, but we thought you might like to hear how things are going as we count down to departure.

...if a thing doesn’t serve at least three purposes, it should probably be redesigned, right?

Last week Matt made some modifications to a Pelican case allowing it to mount onto the port forward part of the cabin, where it will serve as a watertight electric breaker's also a chart table, navigation station, main salon table, main communication hub, entertainment area, exercise equipment locker, and solar array storage unit. Every sailor knows that if a thing doesn't serve at least three purposes, it should probably be redesigned, right? A few last things have been mounted onto the exterior of the hull, including brackets for the emergency floatation system (a system that allows the boat to be floated like an inflatable life raft) and the full complement of bolts on the rudder hinges. Everything else has been sealed and insulated, making the whole cabin watertight and cozy.

Yes, I said cozy. I would be crazy to pretend that it’s not a small space, but the more ready it becomes for the voyage the homier it feels. Sometimes there is comfort in the simplicity of having only the necessities, and all of those within reach.

In the meantime, the freeze-dried supplies from Be Prepared and snack bars and shakes from JuicePlus+ arrived in the mail, coming to roughly 106,000 calories for the voyage. Two hours in the grocery store tracking down fruit, nuts, and oils more than doubled that number, and the food supplies' total comes to upwards of 266,000 calories. For those of you who don't want to do the math, here’s the deal: If the trip takes 4 months (the current longest projection), that’s an average of 2,000 calories per day. Stretched to 6 months, it’s still close to 1400 cal/day.

All of this – freeze-dried foods in No. 10 cans, and most of the snacks in smaller packages that can be fitted around and between them – fits comfortably into the bilge, which also holds the marine battery and essential tools for the voyage.

One of the final preparations before Matt builds a shipping crate around the little boat to send it on its way to the Canaries is to repaint the hull. You've seen that it was painted white and grey since the spring, which was helpful as Undaunted was on display on land and it gave people an idea of where the water line is. Now with a thorough primer and bottom painting as well as some touch-up to the deck and the new hardware, the little boat is nearly all white. There are a few accents to add, including a red waterline and the name on the transom, but otherwise the hull is ready for sea. The white paint for the deck is meant to reflect heat as much as possible to maintain a more comfortable temperature in the cabin.

Obviously this doesn’t cover all of the details and changes of the little boat, but it gives you an idea of where the project is at – nearly ready, just adding the finishing touches before it takes its first, less dramatic trip across the Atlantic. If there’s any part of the project that you’d like to hear more about, leave a comment or send us a message using the contact form and I’ll see if we can do some more technical write-ups!