Brit’s dream to sail the Atlantic in a home-made 3ft yacht ends in heartbreak


An adventurous British father’s dream to sail across the Atlantic from Canada to Cornwall in a tiny homemade yacht has ended in heartbreak after the vessel filled with water and was destroyed while still in the dock. 

Andrew Bedwell planned to make a 1,900-mile trip from Newfoundland, Canada, to Falmouth, Cornwall, in his 3ft by 11ft fibreglass yacht called Big C – which would have become the smallest boat ever to cross the Atlantic.

Announcing the devastating update in a video titled ‘The end of a dream’, Mr Bedwell, from Scarisbrick, Lancashire, said: ‘Hello everyone. Firstly I am so sorry. We had a difficult problem yesterday. We got back to the harbour and the boat had basically sunk. 

‘Because she was full of water, we had to kind of lift her out by her framework rather than put straps underneath the boat.

Andrew Bedwell, 49, has been forced to call of his trip across the Atlantic after the 3ft vessel started taking on water

Andrew Bedwell, 49, has been forced to call of his trip across the Atlantic after the 3ft vessel started taking on water

The destroyed yacht - named Big C - measured just over 11ft in height and had a top speed of 2.5mph

 The destroyed yacht – named Big C – measured just over 11ft in height and had a top speed of 2.5mph

He explained that as they lifted Big C up, problems were caused by ‘half or three quarters of a tonne or a tonne of water’, resulting in the framework giving way. 

‘She’s dropped down on to the harbour side and basically it’s destroyed the boat,’ he added.

‘I don’t know what to say to everyone who’s supported me, helped me, you’ve all been absolutely amazing. Big C is no more. She can’t carry on. I can’t do it, I’m sorry.’

Mr Bedwell, who works as a yacht and sailmaker, had said yesterday that after the boat started taking on water there were plans to make modifications and relaunch the vessel, which took three years to build and has a top speed of two-and-a-half miles per hour. 

The father of a ten-year-old daughter Poppy only needed to reach a point within 50 miles of the west of Ireland to claim the world record for the smallest boat to cross the Atlantic, but he had hoped to finish in Falmouth in late August.

Within hours of his heartbreaking video going up, his JustGiving page had also been taken down. He had been raising money for cancer charities in memory of his father, mother and friend Tom McNally, who helped him design and build the boat before his death.

Mr Bedwell has spent his career making sails and delivering yachts all over the world. As a sailor, he has navigated around Britain and journeyed into the frozen reaches of the Arctic Circle.

Before his aborted trip, the mariner said: ‘You never know, you could hit an iceberg. The Titanic was considered unsinkable but it hit one, and there are a lot of icebergs out there.

Mr Bedwell was devastated after calling off the trip

Mr Bedwell posted a heartbreaking video of him calling off the trip. He captioned it: 'The end of a dream'

Mr Bedwell posted a heartbreaking video of him calling off the trip. He captioned it: ‘The end of a dream’

Mr Bedwell was planning to survive off vitamin-based drinks and food bags made of beef jerky, raisins, and fat

Mr Bedwell was planning to survive off vitamin-based drinks and food bags made of beef jerky, raisins, and fat

The mariner spent three years hand-building his incredible fibreglass micro-yacht which has now been destroyed

The mariner spent three years hand-building his incredible fibreglass micro-yacht which has now been destroyed

‘But I wanted a big challenge before I am 50 – and I am taking on a huge challenge in a tiny vessel.’ 

He said his ‘biggest apprehension’ was probably encountering a storm in his tiny vessel.

He said: ‘When you get into a storm, you are battening down and hoping for the best.

‘You have got vessels who are also in the storms, and they are not always looking out for you. That is probably my biggest apprehension.’ 

The distraught father had designed his boat to be able to carry supplies to fuel him – which included moulding food stores of beef jerky, raisins and vitamin drinks into the walls of his cabin. He was also set to bring just one change of clothes.

To maintain a fresh water supply he had installed a desalination unit.

Joking about what it would have been like at sea in such circumstances he said it was going to be like being ‘stuck in a wheelie bin, on a rollercoaster for 90 days’.

Mr Bedwell added: ‘My one luxury item is going to be a flannel, and that is going to do the job for everything.’

Mr Bedwell was planning to sail from Newfoundland, Canada, to Falmouth, Cornwall

Mr Bedwell was planning to sail from Newfoundland, Canada, to Falmouth, Cornwall 

The mariner (pictured yesterday) compared the challenge to being 'stuck in a wheelie bin, on a rollercoaster for 90 days'

The mariner (pictured yesterday) compared the challenge to being ‘stuck in a wheelie bin, on a rollercoaster for 90 days’

Doctors had warned Mr Bedwell ahead of his trip that he might have to learn to walk again on his return home

Doctors had warned Mr Bedwell ahead of his trip that he might have to learn to walk again on his return home 

Within hours of his heartbreaking video going up, Mr Bedwell's Just Giving page had also been taken down

Within hours of his heartbreaking video going up, Mr Bedwell’s Just Giving page had also been taken down 

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

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

He was hoping his boat was going to become the smallest ever vessel to cross the Atlantic Ocean

He was hoping his boat was going to become the smallest ever vessel to cross the Atlantic Ocean

Doctors had warned Mr Bedwell ahead of his trip that he might have had to have learned to walk again when he arrived home due to the lack of movement and only being able to stand up in calm conditions.

He said previously: ‘When I get back, it is debatable how easily I will be able to walk. So I will have to be careful with my legs.’  

After calling the trip off, messages of support flooded his Facebook account.

One user said: ‘I’m so sorry. Big dreams mean big challenges. I wish you all the best.’

A second added: ‘Sad to hear what happened, but the most important, happy to hear you are okay!’

And a third commented: ‘If it were easy everyone would do it. Get some rest, maybe go away for a couple of days and regroup. You didn’t promise anything to anyone but yourself. Carry On.’



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