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The Soltron Atlantic Challenge in July 2003 saw the Offshore Expeditions team successfully make the crossing from St. John's, Newfoundland to Cape Wrath in Scotland in under 120 hours.

    In 1997, Alan Priddy and his crew entered the record books for making the first powered crossing of the North Atlantic by Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB). They wanted the record for the fastest crossing, but had to abandon that dream when one of the crew was forced to accept outside medical assistance. Six years later and with many other records under their belts, the crew came back to that 'unfinished business'.

Experience is something this crew has plenty of. Between them, Alan Priddy, Dr Jan Falkowski, Clive Tully and Egbert Walters have covered thousands of miles in RIBs. They've circumnavigated Britain and Ireland, then went on to circumnavigate the world. They hold records for crossing the Bay of Biscay and for getting from Tower Bridge to Monte Carlo (2100 miles) in less than 100 hours. Not only that, but both Alan and Jan have crossed the Atlantic multiple times including a record breaking run from from New York to the UK.

They set off expecting extreme cold, sixty-foot waves, screaming winds, fog and icepack. Add to that extreme discomfort and sleep deprivation and the fact they were doing all of this in a boat that's only 10m long and you get some idea of the challenges they faced. Even though they knew what lies in store ahead, none of this put them off.

    They were all confident though that they could do the job - after all they've been there before, as had the boat. Backing them up was a world-class support team headed up by the title sponsor, Soltron, whose fuel enzymes clean fuel, reduce emissions and increase fuel efficiency. As well as the main sponsor the team are received backing from Hogg Robinson BTI Plc, Raymarine Ltd, Yamaha Motor UK Ltd, The Jolly Sailor, C-Map (UK) Ltd, Integrated Manufacturing Systems, Stratos Communications and Sterling Communications.

The Yamaha-powered 10m Ribtec is the same boat Alan used for his trip around the world in 2002. Unforeseen circumstances meant they had to leave the boat in Newfoundland, but this was the time to bring her home. The Jolly Sailor as she was now called was completely refitted by Offshore Expeditions to ensure she was absolutely ready for the challenge ahead.

Offshore Expeditions chose two charities to be associated with their trip, one in Canada and one in the UK. On the Canadian side they worked with the Newfoundland and Labrador Community Food Sharing Association, which helps to feed families in extreme poverty. In the UK it was a charity close to Alan's heart, the Make A Wish Foundation, a charity for children living with life-threatening illness.

    The trip was also be used to gain serious scientific data. Jan Falkowski is a consultant psychiatrist and gathered data on the effects of stress in extreme conditions. Egbert Walters, the Canadian part of the team, is an expert in cold weather survival and studied the effects on the team.

    The team left St John's on July 27th 2003 and reached Portsmouth on schedule on August 9th. En route they stoped in Greenland and Iceland before reaching the end point for the record at Cape Wrath in Northern Scotland. After that, they' made their way back to Portsmouth via Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man and a warm welcome from their home town.

    Regular updates on their progress were posted throughout their trip, with onboard journalist crewmember Clive Tully sending daily email reports from the boat.

    Re-live the team's progress via regular reports from Clive Tully on RIBnet at
www.rib.net


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