Plans are in the pipeline to set a new world record for the fastest trip from the North American continent to Ireland by boat.

And it could all become a reality next July with the final destination being Killybegs.

Cork-based company Safehaven Marine  is behind the ambitious 2020 Trans-Atlantic Challenge.


Last year, the company’s high-speed vessel, ‘Thunder Child’ set a new record for a circumnavigational trip around the isolated islet of Rockall, over 450 kilometres miles off the Donegal coast. The 2,167 kilometre route was covered in 34 hours at an average speed of 34 knots.

Originally it was planned to make the attempt this year. However, fully completing ‘Thunder Child II’ to the necessary high specification for such a voyage proved too much of a challenge, as Safehaven has a full order book till autumn 2020 with six pilot vessels under contract, and obviously priority had to be given to customer crafts necessitating a delay until July 2020 for the record attempt.

“Safehaven is now planning an even more extreme world record in a bigger, faster, even more sensational vessel,” according to company founder and managing director, Managing Director Frank Kowalski.

The new “Thunder Child II” will depart from St. John’s in Newfoundland and will then go via a northern Arctic Circle passage, passing Greenland and Iceland before arriving in Donegal.

The route has been approved by the UIM (Union internationale motonautique).

​The risks associated with this attempt can not be underestimated.
“During the voyage the crew and vessel will have to contend with serious challenges,” he explains.
At such northern latitudes they will be outside the range of any rescue service, and certainly in Greenland and the North Atlantic to Iceland there is virtually no safety net. Survival in a life-raft at these latitudes, even in the summer months would not be long and they will also be outside the shipping lanes.

This video shows the type of vessel for the challenge during sea-trials

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