Amateur yachtsman aims to set world record for smallest boat to cross Atlantic

An amateur sailing enthusiast is putting the finishing touches on his tiny ‘Big C’ vessel so it can sail across the Atlantic and set a new world record.

By Mike

Andrew Bedwell will set off in May 2023 from St John’s, Newfoundland to complete the 1,900nm crossing to  Lizard Point, Cornwall about two months later and earning the title of “the smallest sailing vessel to cross the Atlantic”.

Bedwell, 48, of Scarisbrick, Lancashire, has previously solo sailed a 6.5mtr mini transat racing yacht from the UK up into the arctic and around Iceland before returning home, as well as a solo round the UK journey. The crossing is expected to take approximately 60 days in the extremely compact boat, making it his biggest challenge yet.

‘The Big C’ © Andrew Bedwell

To honour the original designer of the vessel and the previous world record holder, Tom McNally, who died from cancer in 2017, the Big C attempt will raise money for Cancer Research.

Currently, the record is held by American sailor Hugo Vihlen in a 162cm (5ft 4″) vessel. The challenge is not being taken lightly with a lot of research put into the winds and tides while a full support crew is lined up to guide him along the way.

As part of these modifications, Bedwell has made 12 separate watertight compartments in the vessel which is exceptionally safe and stable with an ‘A’ frame mast, double furling headsails, outriggers and twin rudders. It contains a waterproof main compartment with opening and closing vents. His head will almost always be in the dome for navigation and watchkeeping, and there is an integrated harness for rough weather.

The Big C out of the water © Andrew Bedwell

All the sea safety equipment, including AIS, VHF and chartplotter, is housed in the main compartment along with solar panels on the rear, a hand-cranked generator, water maker, and in-keel water storage. A ‘functional’ diet is prepared for the passing due to the incredibly limited space and weight requirements.

Inside The Big C © Andrew Bedwell

“This is a long-held dream of mine but I’m under no illusions it’s going to be easy” explained Bedwell, “the lack of space, toilet and proper eating options will be the hardest for me, throw in a few Atlantic storms and it could get interesting!”

There are some passionate supporters of Bedwell’s efforts, but he seeks more support for his cause. You can find out more on Facebook ‘Big C Atlantic Challenge’ or online www.bigc-challenge.co.uk (under construction) or speak to Bedwell directly at andrew@bigc-challenge.co.uk

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