84-Year Old Adventurer to Challenge the Atlantic on a Raft

800px Porto Covo pano April 2009 4

84-year old Anthony Smith is preparing to complete a life long dream by crossing the Atlantic Ocean on a simple raft made out of plastic gas pipes. The octogenarian, along with a crew of three other men, will set sail in January, aboard the raft that they have dubbed the An-tiki in a nod to Thor Heyerdahl’s famous raft the Kon-tiki.

Smith will be joined on the voyage by Robin Batchelor, age 61, 57-year old David Hildred, and Andy Bainbridge, 56. Each of the men have a history of adventure, with Hildred and Bainbridge both experienced sailors, and Batchelor and Smith balloonists. Smith found the rest of his crew by running an advertisement in the U.K.’s Telegraph that simply said: “Fancy rafting across the Atlantic? Famous traveller requires 3 crew. Must be OAP. Serious adventurers only.”
The voyage is expected to take approximately two months to complete, covering more than 2800 miles beginning in the Canary Islands and ending in the Bahamas. The crew hopes to take advantage of the active trade winds that begin early in the year and hope to arrive well before the start of the Atlantic storm season.
The raft will be constructed out of sections of plastic pipes, which will be sealed at one end, trapping the air inside to give the craft buoyancy.  There will also be two simple shelters, made from pig huts, and a short fence will mark the border around the outside of the raft. That will be in place to help prevent the men from falling overboard, although they’ll also employ harnesses to help keep them in place as well. 
Smith first came up with the idea of making this crossing while he was an RAF pilot back in 1952. It has been on his mind ever since, even as he pursued other adventures such as crossing the Alps in a hot air balloon. After years of planning and dreaming, he’s finally getting underway in a few months time. 
Kraig Becker

7 thoughts on “84-Year Old Adventurer to Challenge the Atlantic on a Raft”

  1. I guess it just proves that what's hell to one person is the fulfillment of a dream to another.

    I have a client who's been very successful in his business. He says what he's passionate about is doing what's fun – whether it's working on a business, watching a movie with a friend or playing golf.

    Another friend of mine whose a life coach was trying to figure out what his deep down passion was. So she asked, "Where would you love to play golf?"

    He replied, "It doesn't matter. I just like hitting the ball.

  2. I can relate to that Denise. It's not always about where we're headed, but the experiences we get while on the way. 🙂

  3. This post reminded me of a book I enjoyed reading a couple of years ago. Its called "Eight Men and Duck" in which the adventurers attempted a trip from Chile to Easter Island in a reed boat, just to see if it was possible. I won't tell you whether or not they made it…

    One sad observation they made on the voyage was that after an enormous fishing vessel had been in the area, for several days they observed not one single fish in the ocean. The plight of our oceans being something previously mentioned here:

    Hopefully the Atlantic Raft team will have a fantastic voyage on the An-tiki!

  4. This is a great story. I agree with you Adventure Junkie, I've hiked a lot of places but what matters to me is the story behind that trip. What I've learned and what I am going to share to the world.

  5. Having been a friend of Dave Hildred since the early 60s,he has shown an ability to succeed,and survive so I have no doubt he and the team will meet the challenge and after watching Robin on his exploits with Steven Tompkinson I'm sure there won't be a dull moment. Best of luck and for a worthy cause. PH

  6. Truely amazing§ the discovery of lost friends and your pending adventure.

    The Atlantic voyage we made on our own boat was hair raising so I cannot imagine the experience you'll all have, good luck and good winds.

    Hello Dave and Andy after thirty years off lost contact its good to see you haven't lost your high spirits.

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