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“Raft blown off course in middle of Atlantic.”
06.03.2011 Uncategorized 6 Comments

“Raft blown off course in middle of Atlantic.”

Today’s Sunday Telegraph carries our story in the news section written by staff writer Michael Howie. LINK.

Here’s the text……

Michael Howie 9:45PM GMT 05 Mar 2011
It is by any yardstick an epic journey: four men with a combined age of 259 bobbing across the Atlantic in a raft made of industrial plastic pipes, living in little more than a garden shed on top.
Last week the voyage of the An-Tiki became just a little bit more epic after their vessel was blown backwards by unfavourable winds.For four days, the 40ft by 18ft craft’s crew was helpless in the mid-Atlantic as the wind blew them 110 miles off course, back towards the Canary Islands, their point of departure.
The unplanned diversion will add to the 2,800 nautical miles they initially expected to travel from La Gomera, in the Canary Islands, to the Bahamas.
It may also add to the 60 days they had expected to spend on the voyage, covering the distance at a maximum speed of six knots. Sunday Telegraph readers have been able to follow their adventure in the Discover section each week since it began in January. Last night captain Anthony Smith said he and the rest of the four-strong crew had been worried by being blown off course but were now relieved to be sailing back in the right direction.
“We had a hiccup for four days – but it could have been 14 days or many more,” he said. “We four were disturbed by this prospect, having no wish to eat into our supplies pointlessly and getting steadily further from our goal.”
The raft had been making steady progress since setting out from the Canaries until last Saturday when after 27 days at sea and more than 1000 nautical miles covered, the first severe squall they have hit blew them first north and east. “We eventually decided to drop the ocean anchor,” said Mr Smith.
Mr Smith, who organised the voyage to prove there is more to being an octogenarian “than a trip to Sainsbury’s”, said they were now aware that things could still go badly wrong, “There is an awful lot that could come our way – storm, unhelpful changes in wind, raft failure of any kind, whales of less gentle disposition,” he said.
Mr Smith, who had long dreamed of proving that a raft can cross the Atlantic safely, has a long adventuring career, he led a pioneering expedition over East Africa in 1962, The Sunday Telegraph Balloon Safari. The following year he became the first Briton to go over the Alps by hot air balloon.
The former Sunday Telegraph correspondent and Tomorrow’s World presenter is joined on the raft by skipper David Hildred, 57; Andrew Bainbridge, 57; and John Russell, 61. The three joined this crew after answering an advertisement in the Sunday Telegraph five years ago.
Mr Hildred, a civil engineer, had read Mr Smith’s accounting ballooning and was inspired to join him. A civil engineer and ocean yacht master he has previously sailed the Atlantic, and is in charge of sailing and navigation on board.
Mr Bainbridge, is close friend of Mr Hildred who keeps llamas and studied alternative medicine in the wilds of Canada before the raft voyage.
Mr Russell, a solicitor from Stroud, is an amateur sailor who normally races a dinghy. The four share duties on board including cooking, navigation and

The raft is built from four 13-yard (12-metre) sections of pipe lashed together. Those at either end are sealed full of air, providing buoyancy while in the middle they contain drinking water and ballast, and are covered in a timber deck. On top are two small shelters adapted from pig huts which serve as sleeping and eating quarters.
There are only two bunks, meaning the crew have to take turns to sleep, with the night divided into three-hour watches – but there is a large stash of rum and tinned food for supplies.
A fence prevents the crew falling overboard, while Mr Smith is attached to a harness at all times because he walks with a stick.
A film of the voyage is planned, and schools around the world have been following the progress, while The crew is also raising money for the charity WaterAid.
The raft, called the An-tiki – adapted from the Kon-Tiki, the raft used by Norwegian explorer and writer Thor Heyerdahl in his 1947 expedition from South America to the Polynesian islands – will be easy to spot as it approaches land: it has a giant “elderly crossing” sign on the sail.

Received from Andy Bainbridge mid-Atlantic….

Hi Robin, Thanks for sending the article by Michael Howie concerning us on An-tiki. Personally I am far from happy with it and would like you to make some announcement on the website or blog concerning myself, if not all the errors (at least 17) in the piece. As you well know I am a General Practitioner with a regular medical practice in Whitecourt, Alberta. Firstly, I have never studied a day of alternative medicine in my life.
Occasionally I will make reference to a text on herbal medication to check for negative effects or interactions with the drugs my patients may be taking but that is as far as it goes. I do not think that the University of Liverpool Medical School, UK or The Wilderness Medical Society in North America (some of whose members are on the medical advisory panel for NASA) would appreciate having their programs referred to as alternative medicine.
Secondly, the people of Alberta, particularly the 2 communities I have worked in, do not like to be referred to as the “Wilds of Canada”. I myself was admonished once after I wrote a letter to the editor of the local newspaper referring to the community as a small town (population 8,000). Being from a province that is rat free suggests to me that central London is a far wilder environment. After all, we have telephones, TV, cinemas, the works. On a matter of vanity, I am the baby of the group at 56. Mr Howie did get 2 things right, I am a friend of David Hildred and I do keep llamas.
Mr Howie obviously did not do his homework or even care to visit our website. I am disappointed in the Telegraph and hope that they will correct these errors in print and not in small type on page 64. I have a lot of relatives, friends, colleagues and alumni in the UK wanting to know the correct story. Anthony’s feelings are that some publicity, even if wrong, is good publicity. Personally, I disagree and the Telegraph has gone down in my estimation.
Dr. J. Andrew (Andy) Bainbridge, M.B.Ch.B. – Liverpool University

6 Responses to ““Raft blown off course in middle of Atlantic.””

  1. […] Today’s column to mark week 6 of the voyage – Anthony extols the design of AnTiki, whilst staff reporter Michael Howie reports on page 3 of the news section! […]

  2. You tell ’em our kid, this the reason I never buy any newspapers whatever quality they believe they achieve. It can’t be to difficult to pick up a phone and get there facts right.

  3. Trish says:

    ( Sorry Dr B – put my comments under the wrong article – but I am not a journalist!!!!) Couldnt Agree more with Dr Bainbrige – it would at least be good if people who write for the press get the facts right. After all this is UK press Not USA press where everyone expects to get the wool pulled over their eyes and sensationalism is expected. Many of the people interested in the raft trip are interested in its design and interested in hearing details that are correct. The author must have read very ancient details about the raft as the logo is NOT on the sail. Anthony Smith might also like to get things straight such that the electronics are powered by solar panels AND a wind generator – the latter assuring that there is charging going on 24 hours a day and not affected by the shade of the sail. Couple this with the the horrendous faulty article in Yachting World and one could easily begin to distrust the press – heaven forbid!!!

  4. Martin L says:

    I knew it!! I knew it! I always suspected you were a hippie! Practicing “alternative medicine”! HAH!

    Did you buy your degree online too?? Perhaps I should email the author and tell him?


  5. Phil Horton says:

    I couldn,t agree more with the above comments, for those that are following the exploits of An Tiki and her crew, it does not help the cause when ill informed and obviously un researched articles are published, any cursory glance at the photos available would have saved at least 2 glaring errors. Whatever is written about the adventure as long as the Crew and Raft get it right we will see a positive well earned result,Keep on heading west gentlemen, Regards PH.

  6. […] AnTiki promoted to page 3 of Sunday Telegraph. […]

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