http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 14.20Change: 0.11
R/$ = 11.26Change: 0.01
Au 1218.07 $/ozChange: 9.38
Pt 1284.00 $/ozChange: -18.00
 
 
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Set date range to access earlier articles.
Where? With... When?








Start
 
End
 
 
And must exclude these words...
Close Main Search
Close Main Login
My Profile News Alerts Newsletters Logout Close Main Profile
 
Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science and Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Tenders Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Contact Us
 
 
 
RSS Feed
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
Oct 19, 2012

SA adventurer sets sights on giant catamaran project following Pangaea success

Back
Cape Town|Johannesburg|Amazon|Concrete|Education|Exploration|PROJECT|Resources|Water|Germany|South Africa|Switzerland|Food|Arctic Ocean|Atlantic Ocean|Environmental|Gaynor Rupert|He|Johann Rupert|Mike Horn|Water|Arctic Circle
|Concrete|Education|Exploration|PROJECT|Resources|Water||||Environmental|Water|
cape-town|johannesburg|amazon-company|concrete|education-company|exploration|project|resources|water-company|germany|south-africa|switzerland|food|arctic-ocean|atlantic-ocean|environmental|gaynor-rupert|he-person|johann-rupert|mike-horn|water|arctic-circle
© Reuse this



It is not exactly an average life skill to know that the distance between a cayman’s eyes can betray its size and, consequently, whether you are possibly on its menu, or if you may be able to hunt it for dinner.

This not-so-average talent belongs to a not-so-average man, the South African-born adventurer and explorer Mike Horn, who picked up this particular nugget of useful information as he river- boarded down the Amazon, starting at its source, to where it runs into the Atlantic ocean – a 6 700 km, 171 day adventure.

The movement-science graduate started this particular journey researching a pile of books on venomous animals and poisonous plants of the Amazon, only to decide he did not like the information overload.
“I got confused between what could eat me and what could not kill me, so I decided to rip out the pages on what would not stop my journey, and only study what would definitely kill me.”
Horn got lucky during his trip, he admits. He was bitten by a snake and “stumbled blind through the jungle for five days” before recovering sufficiently to continue his journey.
The professional adventurer’s latest foray into the world outside the concrete jungle has been the Mercedes-Benz-sponsored Pangaea expedition, which recently wrapped up in Cape Town. This environmental initiative was also supported by Johann Rupert, chairperson of the Richemont luxury goods group and founder of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, and his wife, Gaynor Rupert, who agreed to be the ‘godmother’ of the Pangaea yacht.

The four-year transnavigational trip by sea and land was named after the supercontinent that existed 250-million years ago. The global trek covered 260 000 km, reaching the North and South Poles, and crossing all continents and oceans.
Horn took several groups of young explorers, aged between 15 and 20, along on his travels on the shallow-draught aluminium Pangaea with its retractable keel.
“The aim of the Pangaea mission was, and still is, to [engender] respect for the environment and encourage the clean-up of the planet and the protection of its resources for the sake of future generations.”
His next adventure, says Horn, is to build a catamaran – a big catamaran. It will be so big that the 35-m-long Pangaea will fit on it sideways.
“I need a bigger boat. Next time I also want to create opportunities for older people to become explorers – to look after the planet.
“The project is out there and we have already received a lot of interest from sponsors.”
The 46-year-old Horn was born in Johannesburg. In 2001, he was crowned as Laureus World Alternative Sportsperson of the Year and, in 2007, became a member of the group of athletes and sportspersons who make up the Laureus World Sports Academy.
He is married to Cathy, a New Zealander, and has two daughters, Annika (19) and Jessica (18), who travelled with him to the North Pole at ages 12 and 13 respectively.
Cathy saw him 30 days out of the last four years, he says, but somehow it works. And, yes, she agrees, even though she says she sometimes feels more like his business partner than his wife.
Cathy runs Mike’s office in Switzerland, where the Horn family currently resides.
Over a more-than-20-year history in exploration, Horn has ascended three of the 8 000 m summits in the Himalayas without the use of oxygen. He has also circumnavigated the world around the equator on a solo, nonmotorised expedition, and ditto for the Arctic Circle.
Horn has also skied to the North Pole and trekked to the South Pole.
“I don’t want to die,” he says, explaining what drives him. “I do these things to feel alive. I don’t want to sit in front of the TV. I don’t want to talk to the same people each day.

“If you are not happy with what you are doing, change. Find something that makes you happy.”
The seeds for Horn’s career were planted in the first five minutes he started work as a sports psychologist, when he decided that this was not the job he wanted to do for the rest of his life. He moved on to selling fresh produce at the Johannesburg market, cornering a large part of the tomato and cabbage market.

Some of this inspiration also came from his school principal father who died of cancer at the age of 43, telling him to “really live his life”.
“He gave me two things: a good education and wings to fly.”
With the Johannesburg job no longer bringing him any satisfaction, Horn hosted a party, gave everything he owned away, and boarded a plane to Switzerland.

Here, a run-in with a youth hostel manager saw him get a job looking after the inn. Teaching himself to ski, at night, he eventually became a ski instructor, and then a river guide. Bored with going down the same river so many times, he added more rivers to his resumé, until an Italian watch company paid him to “cycle down a cliff” to support their tag line: “no limits”.

From there onwards, he never looked back – except perhaps for predators.

“I realised a human being can go much further than he thinks he can go. I also learned that we all more of less have a choice in this world. A lot of people don’t understand that they can make their own path. No-one owes me anything.”

Out on a Limb
Circumnavigating the Arctic Circle, a 20 000 km journey that took 808 days, cost Horn a fingertip because his shoelace came loose – once.
The journey saw him drinking olive oil to ensure he devoured the 20 000 calories needed a day not to freeze to death.
“It takes four hours a day to eat. And you can’t sleep more than five hours, because it burns too much fuel (calories),” says Horn.
“Extreme exploration is a science.”
The Arctic Ocean is salt, he adds. “Where do you get fresh water? And remember, what you carry in your thermos freezes.”
In preparing for his Arctic expedition, Horn says he spent quite a bit of time in the Mercedes-Benz wind tunnel, in Germany, used to determine vehicles’ drag coefficient, to learn how to pitch a tent in winds of 150 km/h.
“I knew that if I lost my tent, I would lose my life. In the end, I could pitch a tent with my teeth and feet. You lose feeling in your hands after walking for 20 hours.”
The Arctic expedition was followed by a walk to the North Pole in winter, which meant traversing a mix of water and ice in perpetual darkness for more than two months.

“You walk on water, not land,” emphasises Horn.

Horn tackled this 2006 expedition with Börge Ousland, the first time he travelled with another person, as was required by law.

They walked one month and covered only two kilometres of the more than 1 000 km required to complete the journey.

“As we slept, the ice moved and we kept on drifting back to where we came from,” notes Horn.

The problem was that the two men packed food for only two months when they set out, of which there were now only 35 days of rations left.
The conditions in which they walked were also life threatening.
Dragging sleds of supplies behind them, they had to jump into cold water, in the dark, in the hope of hitting ice again before freezing.
“I knew I could stay in the water for 20 minutes. So if I hit ten minutes in the water and I hadn’t hit ice yet, then I turned around. You can always go back one step. Why not?
“I kept the wind on my face at the same angle at all times. That is how I kept my direction in the dark.
“We once crawled over thin ice, scared it would crack, for eight hours.”
After 30 days of this, the duo had to rethink their strategy.
“I asked myself, who said a day had to have only 24 hours? So we changed the day to 30 hours, and one day’s food was now to last for a 30-hour period. So, for every four days, we gained one day.

“On the day we reached the pole, we ate our last day’s food,” says Horn.
Ousland and Horn were able to reach the North Pole by covering the last 1 012 km with some assistance from the ice drift, which now pulled them closer to the pole.
Horn saved Ousland’s life during this harrowing journey, when Ousland became trapped in the ice-cold water.
The deal the two made when they set off was that neither of the men would risk himelf to save the other, but Horn decided to throw Ousland a lifeline.
“He was pulling me in. It became this tug-of-war to live. It was about who was the strongest, who had the strongest will to live.”
Eventually, Horn managed to pull Ousland out of the water.

As with all things, Horn took something home with him that day.

“If you just hold on a little bit longer . . . It’s not over until it’s over. The same as life.”

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other News This Week News
Updated 7 hours ago The latest TransUnion Vehicle Pricing Index (VPI) contains a number of small, but significant indications that the tide may at last be turning for the beleaguered used car industry. For the third successive quarter, used car inflation has increased on a year-on-year...
The South African new vehicle market is likely to reach around 630 000 units in 2014, down from the 650 000 units recorded in 2013, says Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) president and CEO Dr Johan van Zyl. Van Zyl is also president of the National Association of...
Article contains comments
Efforts by the Kenya government to increase energy generation by 5 000 MW over the next three years received a major boost following the award of a $2-billion contract to build a coal power plant in Lamu.  Despite allegations of irregular tendering process, the...
More
 
 
Latest News
Updated 50 minutes ago Protech Khuthele Holdings on Wednesday said, in a cautionary note to shareholders, that, as the failed company unwound, investigations were ongoing into its affairs. The company provided no indication of the completion date.
Updated 53 minutes ago Private equity investors are increasingly becoming more active in Africa’s bid to narrow the $90-billion a year infrastructure funding gap constraining the continent’s growth. This was according to a survey by the Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity...
Updated 1 hour 28 minutes ago The shortlist of innovations in the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation was announced on Wednesday, comprising 12 new innovations from seven African countries. The shortlist announced by the UK’s Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) included innovations in...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
Updated 7 hours ago The latest TransUnion Vehicle Pricing Index (VPI) contains a number of small, but significant indications that the tide may at last be turning for the beleaguered used car industry. For the third successive quarter, used car inflation has increased on a year-on-year...
The South African new vehicle market is likely to reach around 630 000 units in 2014, down from the 650 000 units recorded in 2013, says Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) president and CEO Dr Johan van Zyl. Van Zyl is also president of the National Association of...
Efforts by the Kenya government to increase energy generation by 5 000 MW over the next three years received a major boost following the award of a $2-billion contract to build a coal power plant in Lamu.  Despite allegations of irregular tendering process, the...
Using crafty wordplay on a well-known Internet meme, brilliant South African-born US entrepreneur and businessperson Elon Musk announced that Tesla Motors would not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wanted to use its technology. Instead,...
August new vehicle sales declined by 1.4%, to 55 722 units, compared with the same month last year. Assisted by the car rental market, the South African new passenger car market, at 37 953 units, contracted by 1 047 units, or 2.7%, compared with August last year.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alert Close
Embed Code Close
content
Research Reports Close
Research Reports are a product of the
Research Channel Africa. Reports can be bought individually or you can gain full access to all reports as part of a Research Channel Africa subscription.
Find Out More Buy Report
 
 
Close
Engineering News
Completely Re-Engineered
Experience it now. Click here
*website to launch in a few weeks