A daredevil dad has set sail from Canada for the UK in a 3-foot boat he built himself, attempting to cross the Atlantic in the smallest ship ever.
Andrew Bedwell, 49, said he was “quite numb” about his 1,900-mile solo journey to the British Isles before departing St. John’s, Newfoundland, at 1:30 p.m. local time yesterday.
The sailor spent three years hand-building his incredible fiberglass microyacht – called Big C – which is 12 feet long and has a top speed of 2.5 mph.
And he will survive the vitamin-based potions and food bags of beef jerky, raisins and grease poured into the walls of his cabin during his perilous journey.
He came up with the idea after reading a book by the current record holder Hugo Vihlen, who made the dangerous crossing in a 1.6 meter boat 30 years ago.
Andrew Bedwell (pictured), 49, departed St John’s, Newfoundland, at 1:30pm local time yesterday for his trip to the British Isles
The yacht – named Big C – is 11 feet and 5.8 inches long and has a top speed of 4 mph
Andrew will survive vitamin based drinks and food bags of beef jerky, raisins and grease
Video shows Andrew being towed out of the harbour, on the west coast of the island, before his team releases his lines so he can begin his journey at 2:28pm.
He expects to be pummeled by at least five storms during his roughly three-month journey — compared to being stuck in a wheelie bin for 90 days, on a roller coaster.
Andrew said, “I’m pretty chilled. I feel good, and it’s time to go.
“Everything is extremely well put together, there’s nothing I’m afraid of on the ship at all. Everything really went according to plan.
“Personally, I think I went above and beyond what I need to do the whole trip.
“But you never know if you might hit an iceberg. The Titanic was considered unsinkable, but it hit one and there are many icebergs.’
One child’s father said he wasn’t worried about the months alone at sea in his little boat, but that he would miss his 10-year-old daughter, Poppy.
He added, “I think the biggest thing I’m going to miss is a hug from my daughter.
“But I wanted a big challenge before I’m 50 — and I’m taking on a huge challenge in a small ship.”
The sailor spent three years hand-building his incredible fiberglass microyacht
Andrew’s journey will see him sailing from Newfoundland, Canada to Lizard Point, Cornwall
Andrew (pictured yesterday) said he expects to be battered by at least five storms on his roughly three-month journey – compared to being ‘stuck in a dumpster for 90 days, on a rollercoaster’
Andrew, who delivers yachts around the world and works as a sailmaker, has spent most of his adult life on hair-raising nautical adventures.
He has previously sailed non-stop around Britain and has crossed the Atlantic on his little 21ft carbon racing yacht to the Arctic Circle.
Andrew got his idea after reading a book by current record holder Hugo Vihlen, who made the perilous crossing 30 years ago in a 5ft 4inch boat.
He then spent years hand-building and self-financing his three-foot sailboat, which he crafted in the garage of his home, in Scarisbrick, Lancs.
Andrew will now find out whether his tough fiberglass shell, which has undergone rigorous testing, can withstand the worst weather the Atlantic can throw at him.
He said, “If you get caught in a storm, you just knock it down and hope for the best.
‘You have ships that are also in the storm, and they don’t always look out for you. That is probably my biggest fear.
“Ships are still going down, but we’ve done everything we can to make it as bulletproof as possible.”
The sailor says of his boat that he is confident that it can handle even the roughest oceans
Andrew will now find out if his sturdy fiberglass shell can withstand the worst weather the Atlantic can throw at him
Andrew hopes his boat will become the smallest ship ever to cross the Atlantic
Andrew, a sailmaker and seasoned sailor, worked on the little boat from the start
Andrew will spend most of his time at sea sitting in his cockpit – he can only get up and train when the weather is calm enough.
And he’s not sure he’ll be able to put one foot in front of the other when he finally makes landfall a few months later.
He added, “No one can really say how much weight I will lose because there aren’t many people who have sat still for three months with so little exercise.
‘When I come back, the question is how easily I will be able to walk. So I’ll have to be careful with my legs.’
Andrew will also have a desalination plant on board, which will provide him with fresh drinking water during his journey, but otherwise he will have few luxuries.
He said, “I will reduce my food intake so little that I won’t have many bowel movements, but if I do, I’m over the line.”
“My only luxury item is going to be a flannel, and it’s going to work for everything. I have one set of clothes – there’s just not enough room for more.’
Andrew only needs to reach a point within 50 miles of the west of Ireland to claim the record, but hopes to finish in Falmouth harbor by the end of August this year.
He said: ‘I would prefer to arrive in Falmouth only for the iconic side of things and sail into England.’