The Technical Concept
The objective of the 'Open Waterbike Propulsion System Project' is to develop a high-performance pedal-driven propulsion system, a global product around which we expect has the potential to develop a new market.
The technical rationale of the project is that
a) cranking is the most efficient way of using human energy for a long time and
b) a submerged high-efficiency propeller is the most efficient way of providing propulsion
A number of pedal/propeller propulsion systems have been developed and some are availabe on the market; however, most of them are inefficient or expensive or both. A new 'flexible shaft' architecture was recently proposed and developed by a number of inventors and manufacturers. In particular, professor Mark Drela designed and tested such a component at MIT and proposed it for the development of our Open Waterbike Project (you can download his contribution from this page).
Rick Willoughby, Australian leading expert in the field of high performance pedal boats, independently designed and extensively prototyped a number of drive systems based on a similar approach.
We believe the Drela-Willoughby architecture to be the Open Waterbike's 'breakthrough' component: it is simple, reliable and highly efficient. And there are actual boats in operation using it. We invite everybody interested, and in particular the manufacturers, to join the effort.
As discussed in the 'market' section, the component is developed and marketed entirely by the manufacturer(s); new manufacturers are invited to join.
If you are a prospective manufacturer, dealer, designer, or just want to know more about the project, please contact the project manager.
Our boat is better than mine.