By Douglas Whitbread via SWNS
A dare-devil dad hopes to break a world record by sailing 1,900 miles across the Atlantic Ocean - in a self-built boat that's just ONE METER long.
Andrew Bedwell, 48, who will set off from Newfoundland, Canada, in May next year, compared the journey to being “stuck in a wheelie bin, on a rollercoaster for 90 days."
The mariner came up with the idea after reading a book by current record holder Hugo Vihlen, who made the perilous passage in a 1.6m (5ft 4inch) boat 30 years ago.
His fiberglass boat - which is half a meter shorter and has a top speed of 2.5mph - is a modified version of a ship that another ex-record holder, Tom McNally, designed.
During Andrew's expected three-month crossing, he'll survive off a protein-rich substance that's moulded around the internal walls of the cockpit to save space.
The thrill-seeking father-of-one admitted his wife thinks he’s “crackers” but said he wanted to achieve something “amazing” before he turned 50.
He said: “I always like to have a real challenge on the go - although my wife quite often feels I’m crackers - but I said before I’m 50 I want to have done something amazing.
“All my life, I’ve done unusual challenges, and it’s slowly got more and more important to myself to get smaller and smaller and smaller.”
And speaking about his purpose-built tiny boat, "Big C", he said: “I think a space rocket would have more room."
Andrew, of Scarisbrick, England, delivers yachts around the world and works as a sail maker. He has spent most of his life embarking on nautical adventures.
He previously sailed non-stop around Britain and has taken his small 6.5 carbon racing yacht across the Atlantic and up to the artic circle.
But as he got older, Andrew says he became fascinated by seafarers who’ve attempted to cross oceans in incredibly small, recording-breaking vessels.
He said: “I bought Hugo Vihlen’s book, ‘A Stormy Voyage of Father’s Day’ – that’s about the current world record holder, who has held it since 1993.
“That kind of started it all off and since then, it has been a slow but very definite kind of route to try and break his record.”
Andrew took over three years to complete the fabrication work with his team on his boat, which measures just 3.5m (11.4ft) tall and has sail area of just 8m (26 ft).
But despite its miniature size, the mariner says he’s confident the vessel will cope with some of the roughest waters that any human can face on the planet.
“The vessel itself is incredibly strong. It’s literally built to survive oceans. It has a fibreglass exterior, then it’s got a foam core, then it's fibreglass on the inside."
“Everyone who sees it - and a lot of naval architects have seen it - say, “She’s solid, she’s built to do it,” and I know she is as well."
Sailors often dread their vessel capsizing and becoming swamped with water, but Andrew insists he has no fears about this happening with his boat.
He said: “Capsizing is absolutely not an issue whatsoever because she’s designed to go over. The hatch seals down to keep it completely watertight, and it will self-right.
“We know she will be rolled, and she will be battered around, but I’ve got a full harness in there.
“There are also two big vents on the front of the vessel, and if waves hit them, they will just slam shut and that stops any water ingress in there.”
"And if it is sealed, I’ve got 40 minutes of air."
His diet will be limited while on the adventure.
“My wife’s going to be making these protein bags, basically, of food. And then we’re going to mold them into the hull to maximize space as much as possible.
“It will taste pretty vile, but it’s just to do the job, basically. There's not going to be any kind of niceties in there – but my daughter might put the odd skittle in."
Andrew will also carry an onboard desalinator, which will provide him with fresh drinking water throughout his journey, but other than that, he will have few luxuries.
He said: “We’ll be lowering my food intake so that I won’t be having many bowel movements, but if I do, it will be over the side.
“My one luxury item is going to be a flannel (washcloth), and that’s going to do the job for everything. I’ll have one change of clothes - there’s just not enough room for more.”
Andrew hopes trade winds will bring him to Lizard point, in Cornwall, UK, sometime between July and August next year, but admits there will be risks along the way.
He said: “There are risks, but we’re fitting the vessel out with as much safety equipment as possible to basically make it so that every other vessel can see us at all times.
"As we are going across one of the main shipping routes, in bad visibility, bad weather we want the captains to be aware of us as well.
"I’ll be contacting as many as possible to make sure they’re aware of me on their radar.
"But if I wrap myself up in cotton wool, and try and not do anything, would I be happy? No, so I’ve got to take some risks.”
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