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"We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring
|Sector No Limitsâ American Pearl
Designed for Smooth, Upright Rowing
"Pearls in themselves are things of mystery and adventure; if you follow the career of a single pearl it will give you material for a hundred tales." -- Isak Dinesen
In redesigning the SECTOR NO LIMITS American Pearl for her trans-Atlantic solo row, Tori Murdens main concern is stability. French rower Gerard dAbovilles travails capsizing 34 times in the light-weight SECTOR during his trans-Pacific crossing in 1991 confirmed Toris desire for a steady, self-righting rowing boat.
Tori, along with friends Bob Hurley and Noreen Powers, built the original rowboat from a kit during the summer of 1997. The one-off hull design rowboat was constructed for competition in the October 1997 Atlantic Rowing Race a two-crew, 3,000 mile race from the Canary Islands to Barbados.
Tori and rowing partner Louise Graff were the only American entry, and the only all-female crew. It was tough going for the Americans after Tori rebounded from an early bout with food poisoning and resumed the race, their communications equipment failed. Tori and Graff were forced to abandon the competition.
Tori, Hurley and Powers consulted with accomplished French seaman Gerard dAboville on the design modifications needed for Toris solo voyage. The main conversions were simple, but significant: add a dagger board at the front of the craft to help prevent strong winds from pushing the boat laterally; replace the original rudder with a much larger one, a better design for long-range steering.
To help maintain the rowboats stability throughout the crossing, Tori chose to load her boat two water ballasts. One tank contains sea water, the other fresh water needed for the voyage. Although 55 gallons of water makes the boat heavy, not to mention difficult to accelerate, the weight enables the boat to "carry her way." SECTOR NO LIMITS American Pearl will plow through conditions that might slow, stop or capsize a lighter vessel. "Im not chasing a speed record, so the weight is not as significant," says Tori.
SECTOR NO LIMITS American Pearls underwater design adds stability. The long keel provides exceptional directional steadiness, making it easier to stay the course. The simple rudder and cable steering device, combined with the boats fairly flat "hard chine" underwater shape helps minimize the work load.
SECTOR NO LIMITS American Pearls above-waterline design delivers an efficient, reasonably comfortable living space for Toris three- to four-month voyage. The egg-crate shape is one of natures strongest forms, enclosing maximum volume with minimum materials. The design also offers low wind resistance. A water-tight bulkhead divides into two parts, each accessible through water-tight storm hatches. A small forward compartment, used for storage, contains communication and navigation equipment. Toris sleep space, a cabin in the stern of the boat, is just large enough to accommodate her six-foot frame. Due to the size of breaking waves Tori will encounter, it is inevitable that SECTOR NO LIMITS American Pearl will capsize during the trans-Atlantic voyage. The cabin-top egg-crate shape gives SECTOR NO LIMITS American Pearl a major design advantage. In an inverted position, the boat is completely unstable and self-rights and self-bails immediately. In pre-launch capsize trials on the Louisville banks of the Ohio River, the rowboat performed perfectly.
SECTOR NO LIMITS American Pearl is made of 3/8-inch marine plywood with fiberglass reinforcing, and includes 20 watertight compartments. The SECTOR NO LIMITS American Pearl has the following specifications:
Length Overall 23 feet
Width 6 feet
Draft 1 foot, 6 inches
Boat Weight (empty) 800 pounds
Displacement (loaded) 1,500 pounds
OARS-U.S.-made carbon fiber oars Three pairs