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Bentley Engineers To Paddleboat Across The Atlantic For Charity

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On: Wed, Nov 3, 2010 at 9:45AM | By: Chris Weiss

Bentley Engineers To Paddleboat Across The Atlantic For Charity

What's the furthest possible vehicle from a Bentley that you could think of? I don't think that you can get much further than a paddleboat slowly pedaling across the giant hunk of landless blue known as the Atlantic Ocean. I suppose a paddleboat in the even larger hunk of blue known as the Pacific Ocean would be a little less luxurious, but you get the idea.

A pair of Bentley engineers are preparing for just that type of voyage. Not so much a rebellion against the luxurious, premium cars they work on every day, but an interesting if rather foreboding charity event, the engineers will be aiming to raise money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.


The two engineers Mike Sayer and Mark Byass will begin their journey, a 3,000-mile voyage from the Canary Islands to Antigua, on December 4, 2011 as part of the Woodvale Challenge, a biennial Trans-Atlantic rowing competition. They'll be manning a 30-foot boat run solely on pedal power known as the Torpedalo.

A little more complex than the paddleboat you used at summer camp back in junior high, the Torpedalo is a carbon fiber vessel designed by the Bentley duo with support from Bentley Motors. The boat itself weighs around a ton, and they'll be carrying nearly 450 lbs. extra in food alone.

The two will take turns pedaling in two-hour shifts, and the pedal power will be used both for pushing the boat forward and for generating electricity for gadgets like cell phones and such, gadgets that they may just need to use to call for help in this rather off-the-wall undertaking. They're hoping to make the trip in 38 days, but don't be surprised if they fall well short; the world record is three times that at 111 days.

38 days sounds pretty fast to bike 3,000 miles on land, I can't imagine trying to do it across a moving body of water, especially one as large and turbulent as the Atlantic Ocean. Reading their story about how they originally planned to do paddle across the English Channel, then spontaneously changed gears to the ocean doesn't inspire that much confidence, either. A test run on the Channel might have been a wise idea.

I'm all for charity work, but let's just call a spade a spade: these engineers could have probably convinced Bentley to auction off a special edition Mulsanne or Continental Supersports and earned some coin for their charities. This sounds more like a couple of smart kids building a really cool science project and then having an excuse to take a month or two off of work to put it into action. But, hey, the result is the same--money to good causes--so let them enjoy--or suffer miserably out at sea, as the case is likely to be.

The goal is to raise 250,000 pounds and a number of sponsors have been lined up. Motor neuron diseases, which killed Sayer's grandfather, are a group of neurological disorders that destroy motor neurons and affect muscle control. Examples include ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) and progressive bulbar palsy. The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions.

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