CC BY-SA, Jm Briscoe

Location: Fort William and the Great Glen
ships and boats, travel by sea

Sailing the Atlantic in a bottle

Sitting outside the Underwater Centre in Fort William is a strange bottle-shaped scarlet boat. This 37 ft steel vessel is the record-breaking Typhoo Atlantic Challenger designed by former Scottish SAS adventurer Tom McClean.

In 1990, Tom McClean launched himself from New York in this unusual vessel powered by engine and sail for his fifth solo Atlantic crossing, reaching Falmouth 37 days later, making him the first person ever do the journey in a bottle! The boat was very stable, but only travelled at 3.5 knots. “The main problem was the winds blowing the wrong way,” said McClean, who did not get much chance to enjoy the use the oak four-poster bed he had installed inside: “because of the movement of the craft, I had to sleep sideways in it to stop falling off, so I only slept about 90 minutes each night."

McClean used the trip to raise over £700 000 for the British charity ‘National Children’s Home’. McClean's previous voyages on the 2,950-mile route including solo crossing by rowing boat in 1969 and 1987 and in the then world's smallest yacht, only 7 feet 9 inches long, in 1982, a feat he repeated in 1983 with a yacht two feet shorter!

More information on visiting the area can be found here.