Super (Small) Yacht in Transatlantic Bid

Hardly a superyacht, the tiny sailing boat makes trans-Atlantic bid

Imagine sailing across the Atlantic in a yacht so small that you cannot stand up inside it and have to curl into a semi prone position in order to get some sleep. But that is what the ‘Crazy Sailor’ Tom McNally is about to do as he readies himself to set off on an epic trans-Atlantic voyage in the world’s most diminutive sailing boat the amazingly small 3-foot 10-inch Big C. This tiny vessel just 46 inches or 1.7 metres long is expected to take 10 months to sail both ways across the Atlantic.

The voyage will start from Cadiz with a shakedown cruise to Gomera in the Canary Islands which should take 25 days. The next leg, from Gomera to San Juan in Puerto Rico, will take about 80 days, aided primarily by the Trade Winds. From there, Tom will journey north along the Eastern seaboard of the USA, helped by the Gulf Stream, and then back to his home port of Liverpool via the historic and often treacherous Atlantic northern route.

Tom, who is sailing for the Sail 4 Cancer charity, had hoped to embark on his adventure last year; but his plans were scuppered when thieves stole his main battery-housing and the lead-filled keel bulb for their scrap value.

For any sailing vessel this voyage would be a serious challenge, for one man in this tiny boat, it will be a truly epic ordeal and the boat’s tiny size presents its own challenges for vital bodily needs. Tom sleeps semi-prone in a sling and can only stretch out by standing precariously on the deck. To bathe, he has to wait for calm weather and jumps overboard with his soap. To obtain essential fresh water from seawater Tom must operate a manually-powered desalinator, however, he can only do so at night, because during the day he would loose more fluid through sweating than his exertion would create.

Tom considers the Bahama Channel to be one of the most hazardous legs of the voyage. With massive cruise ships to starboard and Cuba to port for safety reasons he will probably cut across the Bahama Banks to head for Fort Lauderdale; a tactic he has used once before during an earlier voyage. “In places there is less than 6-feet of water, so it will be a good place to stretch my legs,” says Tom. “In 1993 I remember walking along the sea-bed, accompanied by an inquisitive manatee about twice the size of my boat.”