OAP ready for Atlantic adventure


Anthony Smith, 84, is using a boat made of water pipes

A pensioner is set to attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean on a raft made of pipes.

Anthony Smith, 84, from London, hopes to tame the daunting expanse in his boat, the An-Tiki – a vessel built from 12-metre lengths of water and gas pipes.

He will be joined by a three-man crew of “mature and intrepid gentlemen”, aged from 56 to 61.The team is aiming to cross the Atlantic in around 70 days using ocean currents to sail the 2,800 miles from the Canary Islands to the Bahamas. The team set off on Sunday and aim to raise £50,000 for the international charity WaterAid.

They are aiming to highlight the fact that nearly a billion people worldwide live without clean water.

Mr Smith said: “Water strikes at the very heart of need, making ‘water aid’ a prime consideration.

“To voyage almost 3,000 miles upon the salty kind will make us intensely aware of places in the world that are without adequate supplies.”

Mr Smith, a former BBC Tomorrow’s World presenter and science correspondent, found his crew by placing an advert in the Daily Telegraph.

It read: “Fancy rafting across the Atlantic? Famous traveller requires 3 crew. Must be OAP. Serious adventurers only.”

The advert caught the attention of David Hildred, 57, an ocean yacht master who has sailed the Atlantic, and explored the Amazon in a canoe. Also in the crew are experienced seaman Andy Bainbridge, 56, and 61-year-old solicitor John Russell, a keen sailor from Gloucestershire.

Mr Smith added: “Most people my age are happy with a trip to Sainsburys every Tuesday, or maybe helping out fixing the church hall roof. What I want to show is that you don’t have to be satisfied with a trip to the supermarket. You can do other things.”

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