Project Torpedalo and Cycle Solutions

Posted - October 13, 2011

In early 2013, two enthusiastic but clearly slightly crazy engineers from Cheshire will be attempting to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a carbon fibre pedal-powered boat of their own design. Their boat, called Torpedalo, has been designed by Mike Sayer and Mark Byass over the last two years, and the unique vessel has just been built by Norco GRP in Poole.

The project was created in 2009 with two goals: To raise £250,000 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association and Make-A-Wish Foundation UK, and to set a new World Record. If the team can complete the 3000 mile journey in less than 40 days, they will beat not only the two previous pedal-powered attempts but also the pairs rowing world record. When launched, the boat will be the most advanced human-powered ocean-going boat in the world, with the final design having been subjected to months of analysis, simulation and model testing.

Given the charity nature of the event, one of the early stipulations that Mark and Mike set themselves was that they would try and run the whole project on a budget of zero – meaning every single piece of equipment, all materials and even the build of the boat would have to be provided for free. After two years and a lot of negotiation, they’re about to reach their goal, having researched, tested, designed, built and equipped their boat without spending a penny. This ultimately means that every single penny donated to the project will go to the chosen charities. Cycle Solutions have played a big part in reaching this goal, as a formal sponsor of the project from an early stage. Through donations of bike parts to make a training rig, lycra, a pair of road bikes and even components for the drivetrain of the boat itself, Cycle Solutions are the Official Cycling Equipment sponsor of Project Torpedalo.

As of 10th October, the major build work on the boat is complete, with the boat back at Norco for finishing work following the first public exhibition of the craft at the Cycle Show at the NEC. Mark and Mike will collect the boat soon to start the process of fitting it out with the electrical system and drivetrain, getting it ready to go in the water for the first time in early 2012. Next year will be spent performing increasingly rigorous sea trials before the crossing attempt in 2013.

You can follow the progress of the project, see photos and video of the design and build of the boat, and securely donate to the fundraising cause online at The project is also on Twitter and Facebook – just search for Torpedalo.

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