Chris Todd's hamster cage driven catamaran




Chris Todd had a goal of walking from Wales to Ireland – and he was not about to let the Irish Sea get in his way. So, after building a gigantic hamster wheel treadmill in his backyard dubbed the “Treadalo“, he set off on his journey to hoof it across the stretch of water. Unfortunately, 9 hours into the projected 48-hour crossing, things began to go awry.

In an effort to raise funds for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and the Wiltshire Blind Association, Chris Todd built the Treadalo, a giant floating hamster wheel-like contraption, to cross the Irish Sea. The trip, covering 66 miles, was scheduled to take the 35-year-old two days to complete. However, at about the half way point, the rudders of the wheel were overcome by larger than expected waves. Todd was forced to abandon the Tredalo and board a nearby safety boat, which transported him back to Wales. After a two-hour tow back to its origin, the Treadalo broke.

Todd still hopes to raise £20,000 for charity, and plans on making another attempt at the crossing later this month. Donations can be made through his website. Stay tuned for the second go-round!

+ Irish Sea Crossing for WBA, RNLI

Man Builds Gigantic Floating Hamster Wheel to Walk Across the Irish Sea


Although the attempt was a partial success (he crossed 23 miles of open ocean and the team raised over £3500 for the charities the event supported) Chris feels like he does not yet deserve a cigar. So, he is planning another attempt at some point in the future. If you would like to offer your support for any future attempt please email him.

The challenge will require Chris to power the paddlewheel raft, non-stop, across 66 miles of open sea, for around 40 to 48 hours...burning an estimated 36,000 calories and drinking 20 to 30 Litres of water. It will be like running roughly 10 back-to-back marathons. It's on the very edge of what Chris believes he is capable of, with many unknowns and no guarantee of success. He hopes to raise £10,000 for each charity. £1000 for the WBA will provide a moving on course for ten people to help them start adjusting to sight loss. £1000 for the RNLI will provide personal safety kit for one crew member.




Fully appreciating that this is 'walking on water' publicity stunt aimed at raising money for charity, nevertheless, the task was made all the more difficult for Chris because of the increased frontal area of the 'Hamster-cage' paddle-wheel and the fact that paddle wheels are grossly inefficient compared to a propeller. This human powered craft has less than a horsepower to overcome wave and wind resistance for forward propulsion. By increasing his frontal area and electing a drive that is inefficient, Chris put himself in the position of having to work harder than normal for a task that is already challenging. We also appreciate that the design is extremely simple and is a visual curiosity that would have spurred contributors to donate, which, after all was the objective, and on that basis his project is a PR success.










Solar Navigator triple hull SWASH trimaran tank test model


The Solar Navigator - SWASSH (Small Waterplane Area Stabilized Single Hull) test model 2012

The latest Solarnavigator is designed to be capable of an autonomous world navigation set for an attempt 

in 2015 if all goes according to schedule.






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