Yacht Designer Sails Atlantic to Raise Eco-Awareness

21 February 2019 By Aileen Mack

Dan Lenard of design firm Nuvolari Lenard departed on a transatlantic crossing on January 20, 2019, from Cadiz, Spain, and plans to arrive in South Florida at the end of February. The daring adventure comes with a challenge — he is alone on a 33-foot sailboat with no instruments, engine, electronics, GPS, log, compass, autopilot, or sextant.

His solo transatlantic crossing promotes the “beauty of pure simplicity of sailing” and also the necessity for immediate action for marine environment preservation. In a press release, Lenard said, “I want to invite everybody that loves and is passionate about the sea to become a voice of a spreading awareness regarding the conservancy of our seas and oceans.”

A life-long sailor, Lenard designed his first 50-foot sailing yacht at 19, and in 25 years, Nuvolari Lenard has designed 350 boats, including the 64-meter Perini Navi S/Y The Spirit of the C’s and the 106-meter Oceanco S/Y Black Pearl. His boat, SCIA, which means wake in Italian, is a 33-foot sloop made from recycled boat parts. Hulls and decks of different 10-year-old boats were coupled together with the mast of a Bavaria Match 35 and the rudder from another boat. Vela-Code’s SCIA is essentially a “reset button in sailing technology” in order to highlight the need to reset how we treat the environment. The idea is to inspire initiatives for prevention and cure through intelligent yacht design, education to highlight the activities and behaviors that cause damage, and devoting resources to repair the damage.

Lenard reached Antigua on February 19 after traveling almost 4,000 miles, following the route of Christopher Columbus’s second voyage. The initial goal was to reach the coast of Florida for the Miami Yacht Show, but a lack of wind (12 days with just two to five knots) ruined that. After a stay of a few hours in Falmouth marina, he was on his way to Miami.

SCIA is equipped with a tracker/beacon that signals Lenard’s position every hour through the voyage, but this is just for his audience as he can’t chart his progress through the device. The team ashore updates the social media channels, so you can follow his journey via Instagram at and Facebook at

Photo: vela.code on Instagram

UPDATE: 3/4/19

The long-anticipated arrival of Dan Lenard aboard 33-foot SCIA was plagued by lack of wind. He finally arrived in Fort Lauderdale on March 3 to a small welcoming committee of friends and supporters, a culmination of 43 days alone aboard the boat he designed and built mostly with recycled parts. His journey was also completed with no instruments, engine, electronics, or GPS. With no aids, Lenard relied on the stars, sun, moon, and other signs to guide him.

The crossing’s goal was to raise awareness about the condition of the ocean, and his trip confirmed to him that there is no time to waste — he noticed plastics were everywhere as he sailed.

At her fastest, SCIA did 22 knots but the last stretch was a slow 3.5 to 4 knots. Sailing was the fun part of the trip, Lenard says, but the hardest part was being alone and having to plan his whole day as leaving the helm was difficult. He planned 20 hours ahead — sometimes putting the lights on at 10 in the morning knowing he couldn’t go inside in the evening because of choppy waters.

Lenard told Boat International that the transatlantic crossing wasn’t much of a hassle and that he found it more difficult in the Caribbean. “Leaving Antigua was really tough,” he said, “and started the hardest part. The passage between Puerto Rico and Dominica, I got [the wind] in the face. If you are only sailing, there is only two-degree correction, otherwise you crash into Dominica because you are going against the waves against the wind.”

There was only one part of the journey where he got scared and that was going around North Bimini. He didn’t know where he was and without a chart, he didn’t know how deep the water was either. The boat traffic has also picked up, so he had little sleep on the latter part of the trip. He was also almost out of food when he arrived.

The crossing gave him time to clear his mind and “get rid of many thoughts [that] are just heavy on your mind.” His senses were sharpened by the lack of technology — “If you have nothing, you see everything,” he said. “If you have all the electronics and books, you see nothing, you have just wasted your time in the middle of the ocean.”

Photo: Cecile Gauert