RIB Circumnavigates Iceland in 42 Hours
Al Seer Marine and Rafnar, Icelandic marine technology innovators and designers of the Rafnar Hull, have completed a record-breaking 42-hour circumnavigation of Iceland.
This news follows the firms' recent partnership announcement for the licensing of the Rafnar Hull. The challenge of circumnavigating Iceland in a small open RIB was an opportunity for Al Seer Marine to gain firsthand experience of the Rafnar Hull in the conditions that shaped it.
The journey began in Reykjavík, Iceland, on Thursday, May 31, 2018 at 1:20 p.m. and ended on Saturday, June 2nd at 8:00 a.m. in Reykjavík. The trip spanned 820 nautical miles and was completed in 42:40 hours, with a total operating time of 37:20 hours and average speed of 21.6 knots, based on the boat’s GPS system. On board were Lee Drinkwater and Gordon Prest from Al Seer Marine and Gunnar Sigurðsson and Karl Birgir Björnsson from Rafnar.
Planning for the trip follow the Icelandic approach of, “þetta reddast”, which roughly translates to “it will all work out”. As weather conditions in Iceland change quickly and regularly, long-term planning for good weather is impractical. At best, a fairly accurate prediction can only be determined a week in advance of departure. While weather conditions were uncertain, cold on the open North Atlantic around Iceland is guaranteed, regardless of the time of year. The boat was equipped with the appropriate rescue and survival equipment and the crew wore survival flotation suits over several layers of Icelandic wool. A large fuel cell was secured at the bow in order to ensure ample fuel capacity and to reduce the number of necessary fuel stops. A day before departure, the crew stocked up on healthy snacks and energy drinks, which was to become their main source of nutrition for the entire journey.
Lee Drinkwater, Head of Business Development & Strategy at Al Seer Marine, commented, “Beyond marking the beginning of our long-standing collaboration with Rafnar, the primary objective of the expedition was for us to gain firsthand experience of the effectiveness of the Rafnar Hull’s extraordinary seakeeping qualities in Iceland’s harsh sea conditions.”
Karl Birgir Björnsson, Director of Business Development for Rafnar, said, “We are very proud of having completed what we know to be the fastest circumnavigation of Iceland undertaken in a craft of this size. This is the second ‘extreme’ trip that we’ve done, the first one having been a trans-Atlantic crossing from Iceland to Sweden in 2016. We do these expeditions to demonstrate our confidence in the unrivaled seakeeping qualities of the Rafnar Hull. We are very pleased that Al Seer Marine can now convey their affirmed confidence in the Rafnar Hull through the extraordinary experience gained on this difficult journey.”
The crew met with very volatile and harsh winds, not always favorable, but which ultimately helped stress test and showcase the stability and handling qualities of the Flengur 850. In face of extreme endurance and icy-cold conditions, the boat’s seakeeping qualities were exceptional, handling the waves with ease and keeping the crew safe and in relative comfort.