Daredevil will attempt world record by sailing 1,900 miles across the Atlantic Ocean in tiny boat


‘Like being stuck in a wheelie bin, on a rollercoaster for 90 days’: Daredevil will attempt to break record by sailing 1,900 miles across the Atlantic in boat that is just 3ft3in long and has top speed of 2.5mph

  • Andrew Bedwell, 48, from Lancashire, hopes to break a world sailing record
  • He has crafted a tiny 3ft3in boat, which he will sail from Canada to Cornwall
  • Andrew is comparing his journey to being ‘stuck in a wheelie bin’ for 90 days 

A daredevil father will sail 1,900 miles across the Atlantic Ocean in a tiny 3ft3in (1metre) boat he built himself, as he audaciously attempts to break a world record. 

Andrew Bedwell, 48, who will set off from Newfoundland, Canada, next May, hopes to smash the record for sailing the smallest boat to cross the Atlantic. 

He 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 5ft4in (1.6m) boat 30 years ago.

Andrew Bedwell, 48, from Lancashire, hopes to sail 1,900 miles in his tiny 3ft3in boat

Andrew Bedwell, 48, from Lancashire, hopes to sail 1,900 miles in his tiny 3ft3in boat

Andrew's journey will see him sail from Newfoundland, Canada to Lizard Point, Cornwall

Andrew’s journey will see him sail from Newfoundland, Canada to Lizard Point, Cornwall 

His fibreglass boat – which is half a metre 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.

The daredevil says he anticipates feeling 'stuck in a wheelie bin, on a rollercoaster for 90 days'

The daredevil says he anticipates feeling ‘stuck in a wheelie bin, on a rollercoaster for 90 days’

Andrew seen standing up in his tiny fibreglass boat, which can achieve a top speed of 2.5mph

Andrew seen standing up in his tiny fibreglass boat, which can achieve a top speed of 2.5mph

‘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.’

Speaking about his purpose built tiny boat, ‘Big C’, he said: ‘I think a space rocket would have more room.

‘This is like being stuck in a wheelie bin, on a rollercoaster for 90 days – and that’s what it could be in the worst-case scenario.’

The mariner says of his boat that he's confident it can cope with even the roughest of oceans

The mariner says of his boat that he’s confident it can cope with even the roughest of oceans

Andrew will survive off a protein-rich substance moulded around the boat's internal walls

Andrew will survive off a protein-rich substance moulded around the boat’s internal walls

Andrew, of Scarisbrick, Lancashire, 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 have 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 more than three years to complete the fabrication work with his team on his boat

Andrew took more than three years to complete the fabrication work with his team on his boat

The diminutive vessel measures just 11.4ft (3.5m) tall and has a sail area of just 26ft (8m)

The diminutive vessel measures just 11.4ft (3.5m) tall and has a sail area of just 26ft (8m)

Andrew took more than three years to complete the fabrication work with his team on his boat, which measures just 3.5m (11.4ft) tall and has a sail area of just 26ft (8m).

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.

He said: ‘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 and 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.’

Andrew, who is a sail maker and seasoned mariner, worked on the tiny boat from scratch

Andrew, who is a sail maker and seasoned mariner, worked on the tiny boat from scratch 

Sailors often dread their vessel capsizing and becoming swamped with water, but Andrew insists he has no fears 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.’

Andrew will eat a cold protein-based food stuff during the journey, which will encase his body around the walls of the boat to save space.

He said: ‘My wife’s going to be making these protein bags, basically, of food. And then we’re going to mould them into the hull to maximise 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 no doubt use his compass to help him navigate across the 1,900-mile journey

Andrew will no doubt use his compass to help him navigate across the 1,900-mile journey

Inside the cockpit, which will be packed with protein around the walls to sustain Andrew

Inside the cockpit, which will be packed with protein around the walls to sustain Andrew

A photo showing the installation of the cockpit and hatch, which is completely watertight

A photo showing the installation of the cockpit and hatch, which is completely watertight

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 little that I won’t be having many bowel movements, but if I do, I will be over the side.

‘My one luxury item is going to be a flannel, 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, sometime between July and August next year, but admits there will be risks along the way.

The lightweight, durable sail on Andrew's tiny fibreglass boat measures just 26ft (8m) across

The lightweight, durable sail on Andrew’s tiny fibreglass boat measures just 26ft (8m) across

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 [and] 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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