Never Too Old: Anthony Smith and the An-Tiki
By David Rutter
Anthony Smith is setting out on an extraordinary journey to show other people his age that great things are still possible.
He is 84, and next January, will set out to sail across the Atlantic Ocean from the Canary Islands to the Bahamas.
He is not going solo – he has a crew that he found by placing an advertisement in the Telegraph in the UK. The advertisement read: “Fancy rafting across the Atlantic? Famous traveller requires 3 crew. Must be OAP. Serious adventurers only.” OAP is an acronym for old age pensioner.
Mr Smith is a former RAF pilot, and a former science correspondent with The Daily Telegraph. He has ballooned in East Africa, and was the first Briton to go over the Alps in a hot air balloon.
His advertisement caught the attention of David Hildred, age 57, who is an ocean yacht master. He has sailed the Atlantic, and explored the Amazon in a dug-out canoe. Also in the crew is experienced seaman Andy Bainbridge, age 56, a friend of Mr Hildred.
The raft, named the An-Tiki, is being built from 12 metre lengths of pipe, sealed at each end. To ensure Mr Smith doesn’t fall overboard, he will be attached by a harness to the vessel.