Boating: How Many Engineers Does It Take...

Outside magazine, April 1995


Boating: How Many Engineers Does It Take...
By Todd Balf


Last September's shakedown voyage of the Microship, a 19-foot trimaran capable of operating under solar, sail, or electric power, didn't go well. Its tiny size ultimately could not accommodate all the high-tech gadgetry. But sometimes cutting-edge adventure is like that. So last December, gizmo savant and cyber-explorer Steve Roberts replaced Microship with a 27-foot catamaran, also christened Microship. After he and the University of California, San Diego, engineering department finish customizing it sometime next year, Roberts will pilot the high-tech craft on what he's calling an "open-ended journey." Translation: He hasn't decided yet where he'll sail it. Roberts's last such venture was a widely publicized 17,000-miler aboard the Behemoth, a $1.2-million, computerized recumbent bicycle with solar panels, satellite e-mail links, handlebar-mounted keyboard, global positioning system, and a nifty 105-speed transmission. The new Microship, vows Roberts, will make the Behemoth look like a one-speed cruiser.

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