Tasmanian of the Year praises Mercury outboards raises almost $300,000 to fight polio

Newly named 2012 Tasmanian of the Year, Rob Pennicott, has now raised more than $280,000 from his record-setting circumnavigation of Australia – powered by ultra-reliable Mercury outboards.

Rob and his team circled Australia (including Tasmania) anti-clockwise in two 5.4 metre Naiad RIBs, each with two 60hp Mercury FourStrokes, to complete the very first outboard-powered circumnavigation. The boats were built in Western Australia by Kirby Marine.

Rob still can’t believe the conditions they faced.

“The Gulf of Carpentaria was the hardest stretch. We spent 26 hours without a stop, getting hit by waves every 12 seconds with fish leaping out of the water hitting us in the head,” Rob said.

At times the team battled winds of 70 knots.

“A huge thanks to Mercury Marine for supplying such wonderful engines. It’s amazing to have boats built so well and engines so reliable that, after 101 days of being battered like a brick, everything held together,” he said.

“The engines were regularly subjected to continued wet and wild conditions where the cowlings were in heavy wash, and at times submerged.

“They didn’t miss a beat. They were quiet, fuel efficient, clean smelling and extremely reliable.”

On average, the dual rigs used almost exactly one litre of fuel per nautical mile.

“This didn’t seem to vary much from 17 to 23 knots,” said Rob, who’s the founder of iconic Tasmanian tourism business Pennicott Wilderness Journeys.

These figures reflect the size of Rob’s achievement and the engines’ impressive performance.

  • Days travelling – 101
  • Total hours – 630
  • Total distance – 20,000km
  • Average travel in a day – 225km
  • Propeller revolutions – 680,400,000
  • Breakdowns – 0

“I would like to thank all the Mercury dealers who serviced the engines for us as we travelled around Australia, especially Mark from The Boat Business (Henderson, WA) and Dave from Ceduna Marine (Ceduna, SA) who went above and beyond the call of duty,” Rob said.

“And I cannot speak highly enough of Channel Marine (Margate, Tasmania). I really appreciate their assistance with the entire Follow the Yellow Boat Road campaign. They provided outstanding advice in helping to select, supply and service the engines. They also made all the arrangements with the other dealers across the country to ensure the engines were serviced regularly.”

To learn more about Rob’s marvellous journey, and possibly make a donation to aid the fight against polio, visit www.FollowTheYellowBoatRoad.com.