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Own a piece of history and a Guiness World Record Holder! This story will impress the hardiest of ocean faring sailors and is a testament to the vessel itself!
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Smallest Power Boat to Cross The Atlantic: Florida brothers set world record
TAMPA, FL, USA -- Two brothers, Ralph Brown, 50, of Spring Hill, and Robert Brown, 51, of Merritt Island, managed to cross the Atlantic in a in a Suzuki powered 21' Flats Boat, that Ralph's company Dream Boats, Inc designed and built, from Tampa, Florida to the Limehouse Marina in downtown London - setting the new world record for the Smallest Power Boat to Cross lest power boat to cross the Atlantic
The Guinness world record for the the longest non-stop ocean voyage in a flats boat was 1,245.63 km (774 miles) and was set by Ralph and Robert Brown (USA) who travelled from St. Georges, Bermuda to New York Harbor, USA.
The Brown brothers crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a 21'1'' powerboat, without a cabin or a keel.
The previous world record was a 21'4'' powerboat that had both a cabin and a keel. There were actually two separate boats 21'4" that made the voyage, both were primarly designed for that voyage.
Florida brothers did it in a
Stock FLATS Boat, no cabin, no keel drafting a lot less than a foot.
"There were times we were afraid for our lives, but we never thought for once we wouldn't make it," Ralph Brown said.
They survived being hit by an iceberg and massive waves from the remnants of hurricanes. They've seen glaciers, seals and even whales. They even mailed President Barack Obama a post card from Greenland.
Ralph and Robert started their adventure from Tampa, Florida, and continued up the US east coast, to Canada, Greenland, Iceland and Scotland.
They undertook the voyage to honor Robert's former Marine comrades who died in 1980 in a botched mission called Operation Eagle Claw, in which several branches of the military attempted to liberate the American Embassy in Iran after terrorists took the ambassador and his staff hostage.
Their open fishing boat separates itself from other smaller boats that have made the crossing is that it does not have a cabin, a keel, a sail, or an escort and it had to carry its own fuel.
This boat literally runs in less than an incredible four inches of water, including the motor.
While experts said it was impossible to survive the 7000 plus miles of open ocean, the Brown brothers stepped off their tiny open fishing boat at 6:40 pm, London Time, Friday, September 4, 2009 at the Limehouse Marina in downtown London.
The brother's remained completely exposed to the elements for the entire voyage and did not have a keel to right the boat if it were to flip.
Ralph and Bob Brown survived being run over by an iceberg in Greenland, almost running out of fuel hundreds of miles from shore, refusing to be rescued three separate times, surviving massive waves from the remnants of two hurricanes, being slammed into rocks by gale force winds, running out of money and many other amazing events.
Although the boat retained seaworthiness, some of the attached equipment has literally fallen apart from the impact of an estimated 140,000 slams during the crossing.
Their final destination, some 8312 miles from Sarasota FL., was the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, near Frankfurt, Germany.
The world record attempt was sponsored by Interstate Battery.
The "I Am Second" voyage team attended a reception with the wounded heroes that have been evacuated from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Details can be seen at:
Bob is writing a book on the voyage and is almost done.
This is not the first time Ralph and Robert Brown have set a World Record. In 2007, their 1400 mile adventure started from North Carolina to Bermuda and back to NYC. They were awarded the "Longest Non Stop Ocean Voyage in a Flats Boat"
And more press reports. See below:
The owner of a fledging Florida boat company and his brother hopscotched their way up the East Coast and across the Atlantic - an 8,312-mile odyssey - in a 21-foot center console power catamaran, hoping to raise money for military charities while drawing attention to his boat's seaworthiness.
Ralph Brown, 50, owner of Dream Boats, in Hudson, Fla., and his brother Robert Brown, 52, of Merritt Island, Fla., got under way June 27 from Tampa in the Intruder 21, which Ralph Brown designed.
The brothers took the cat up the East Coast to Canada, then across the Atlantic to Greenland, Iceland, England, France and Germany, where they arrived Sept. 10 (go to for details). The unescorted trip took 76 days.
"[The boat's] limit was about 12-foot seas," says Ralph Brown. "Between the Shetland Islands and the Orkney Islands [off northern Scotland] we got into some breaking 12- to 15-foot waves with gale-force winds coming out of the north. We were headed southwest. We probably should have thrown the sea anchor, but we decided to keep at it."
The Intruder is unsinkable, with foam injected into the hulls, says Brown. A single 140-hp Suzuki 4-stroke powered the cat for the trip, along with a 9.9-hp Suzuki kicker. Safety equipment included an EPIRB, two satellite phones, a VHF radio, life jackets, and survival suits. In addition to the boat's standard fuel tank, they strapped additional tanks to the deck and carried gas in portable containers.
The 593-mile passage from Canada to Greenland was the longest leg. "We got stuck in 7- to 9-foot waves," says Brown. "We almost ran out of fuel and ended up throwing the sea anchor and waiting for the winds to shift out of the north."
They finished the last 180 miles or so with the kicker "because it gets better fuel economy."
The voyage, dubbed "I am Second - Wounded Hero Voyage," was made in honor of three of Ralph Brown's Marine Corps comrades who died in an ill-fated 1980 attempt to rescue American hostages in Iran. Brown was scheduled to deploy in the same mission, but his unit was never sent, he says.
Brown, a former insurance salesman from Spring Hill, Fla., had no background in boatbuilding when he decided to delve into the marine business. After running hard aground during a 1999 fishing trip in a friend's 16-foot skiff, he was inspired to design a flats boat that could run in very shallow water.
Tired of listening to him talk about building a boat, Brown's wife, Anne, issued an ultimatum: build it or shut up about it.
The Intruder 21 is a catamaran flats boat with a full tunnel. The boat has about 2 feet of freeboard with a standard load, weighs 2,500 pounds, and comes with a standard 27-gallon fuel tank. With standard power - a 115-hp Suzuki 4-stroke and jack plate - sells for $26,400 (without T-top and trailer). The boat can take up to a 150-hp outboard.
Brown has sold 17 Intruders.
The latest trip was the second in this boat for the brothers. In 2007, they made a 774-mile passage from St. George, Bermuda, to New York Harbor to promote the Intruder 21 and help get Dream Boats off the ground.
"We were trying to find investment capital rather than trying to sell boats," says Brown. "I did hope the trip would help me meet people who had the ability to make a large investment in our company."
Then the economy took a nosedive. Brown is hopeful his company will endure because he believes in his boat.
"I definitely think this model of flats boat is a great product," he says. "Let's face it, it runs extremely shallow, and it is seaworthy enough to cross the Atlantic, though I would not recommend [the voyage]."
The voyage from Bermuda to New York trip is documented in the Guinness Book of World Records as the "longest non-stop ocean voyage in a flats boat." Robert Brown wrote a book about the adventure called "Bermuda Suicide Challenge."
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