VIDEO: Across the Ocean & Up the Mountain with Erden Eruc
Erden Eruc is a man on a ‘human-powered’ mission, a mission which Elliott Bay Design Group recently assisted with donated design services as he plans for the next leg of his “Six Summits Project.” Next up: a solo row across the Pacific Ocean, a bike ride to Tibet and climbing Mt. Everest.
A Seattle resident, Erden Eruc’s solo circumnavigation by human power quest, which started as a quiet obsession in the late 1990s, became a life mission following the death of Göran Kropp, who died while rock climbing with Eruc in September of 2002. Born was the Six Summits Project, which has Eruc traveling too … by human power … six continents and then scaling that continent’s highest peak.
“I have been active all my life as an athlete,” said Eruc. “I was introduced to mountaineering by my father at age 11 and always busy with athletics.”
In 1997 he came across a world map that was hanging on the wall of an IT lab in Silver Spring, Maryland. “I traced my finger across that map, and I wanted to take the journey to Turkey where I’m from originally. So I gave it a name, ‘Journey Home,’ and that became a quiet obsession. That’s how it all started.”
Six Summits Project
When Eruc decided he was going to circumnavigate the globe by human power, he started reading about such journeys and came across a book, Ultimate High by Göran Kropp, a Swedish adventurer who had bicycled from Sweden to Nepal in 1996 to climb Everest solo. “He came to Seattle for a presentation, I met him, and his first two questions to me were: ‘when are you starting?’ and ‘do you have sponsors?’”
The meeting would be a turning point for Eruc, as he and Kropp had the chance to go climbing together for the first time five years later in September of 2002, when they had an accident.
“He fell and he died, I was his belayer,” said Eruc. “That became the turning point for me, and on the way back from his funeral in Stockholm, on the plane, I drew the world map on a piece of paper, the proverbial napkin, and marked the highest summits on each continent and sketched a path connecting these, saying that I would reach each one of these by human power, as Göran.”
The Six Summits Project was born.
The first was Mount McKinley in 2003, when Eruc bicycled up there, summited the mountain, married his fiance in Homer, Alaska, and then bicycled back. During his five-year circumnavigation (from 2007 to 2012), Eruc summited Kosciuszko in Australia and Kilimanjaro in Africa.
“So what remains are Everest, Elbrus, and Aconcagua,” said Eruc.
Everest is next on the list, and the plan today is for him to leave from his home in Gig Harbor in the Spring of 2021 and launch from the shores of California for an 11-month-long row across to mainland Asia, the shores of China, followed by a bicycle ride to Tibet to climb Mount Everest.
While the challenge of Six Summits attracts him, it is the fundraising that sustains him.
“We have a nonprofit called Around-n-Over, and my mission on this crossing will be to raise awareness about plastics in our oceans,” said Eruc. “I’m an ambassador for the Ocean Recovery Alliance, and we focus on beach cleanups and reducing plastic use in corporations and in installations and facilities like stadiums. Plastics Disclosure Project is one of their offerings. So all these ideas and hope for solution is what I would like to convey during my crossing and in my blogs during the crossing.”
EBDG Donates Design Services
When Elliott Bay Design Group learned about Erden’s plan through a mutual friend in the design and engineering community, EBDG was excited about the potential to play a small but valuable role. As ‘boat geeks’, the idea of a next-generation vessel that would cross oceans under the power of a single human was intriguing. Learning about Erden’s own design and engineering background and the details of his past record setting
adventures made the opportunity irresistible.
As the new boat would be a series of refinements to his current boat, we knew that collaboration in a 3D environment would be the right approach. First though, we would need details of his current boat but because it was built by hand there were no drawings to work from. We began the design process by performing a detailed 3D scan we then imported into our modeling software.
Using the point cloud produced by the 3D scan, we created a 3D surface model of the hull and deck that matched the existing vessel. A modified version of the hull form was then modeled and faired. The goal of the design change was to produce a hull with the same overall dimensions and largely similar hull shape, but with a rounded bilge as opposed to the hard chines of the current boat.
Once the new hull form was finalized, frame shapes were determined from the computer model and full-size station mold patterns were created for the new strip-planked hull to be built on.
As of this writing, and due to multiple factors, Eruc decided to stick with his original boat as there simply was not enough time and money to build a new one to be on the water in the Spring of 2021.
“Elliott Bay Design Group offered to do a 3D scanning of the hull and capture that accurately so that I can then build a forms, cross sections, and then go from there. I needed an accurate starting point and they gave me a foot up. So I’m grateful for their contribution,” said Eruc.
Watch the EBDG team discuss the project here:
Editor’s Note: Eruc was grateful for EBDG’s contribution, but following this interview, because time and funding was short, he opted to modify his existing boat to launch in the Spring of 2021.
- Erden Eruc's Historic Firsts
* First solo circumnavigation of the globe using human power
* First person to row three oceans – Atlantic, Pacific and Indian
* First to cross the Atlantic Ocean from the southern to the northern hemisphere (solo east-to-west)
* First to row across the Indian Ocean
Learn more about Erden Eruc's missions here:
Watch the full interview with Erden Eruc here: