A few years ago I met an interesting guy by the name of Scott Wood who told me that he was in the process of designing, building and bringing to market a solar powered outrigger. Scott’s invention would allow canoeists and kayakers to attach the outrigger to their crafts. Once attached, the outrigger would provide said person with up to eight hours of power, using an electric motor for propulsion.
The contraption, called SPO-3, is basically a power assist for those who are looking to make longer journeys. Once depleted of power, the solar unit can either be recharged using the sun, or it can be plugged in to a standard outlet for a quick recharge.
Scott recently added another handy feature to the outrigger – a sail rig component that allows the craft to be powered by wind. A daggerboard can also be added, which allows the craft to be sailed in stronger weather. The sail allows the user to disengage the electric motor and recharge the gelled nickel metal hydride battery pack.
In my mind, the ideal scenario for use of this device would be to make a long trip to a camping destination (say an island), pull up to shore, unhinge the SPO-3, utilize the kayak the way that it was intended for a couple of days (paddling about), strap the SPO-3 back on and head home.
Scott came up with the idea for his invention at a juncture in his life that he refers to as his “mid life crisis”. At the time, he decided that he wanted to paddle the Erie Canal – 300 mile altogether. As you can imagine, the excursion took its toll. Although Scott did not complete the trip, he had plenty of time to contemplate a better way to get the job done. By the time he pulled his kayak out of the canal at Schenectady, the idea for the SPO-3 Solar Powered Outrigger was conceived.
After years of designing and building prototypes, and tweaking countless times along the way, Scott has finally come to the point where he is able to launch his creation. He recently procured a patent, and set out to create a crowdfunding campaign, which is now live. Scott is also currently taking orders, and anticipates production of the SPO-3 to commence this winter, with retail sales getting underway in spring of ’17.