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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 April, 2003, 15:25 GMT 16:25 UK
Inflatable's ocean crossing attempt
The specially designed boat
The specially designed rigid hull boat can survive polar conditions

A boat made in Pembrokeshire is about to attempt a world-record crossing of the Atlantic.

The open top craft will carry a crew of four, a cameraman and four tonnes of fuel through some of the most treacherous seas in the world.

It has been built by a small team of workers at the Ocean Dynamics workshop in Pembroke Dock.

The crew of four are trying to become the first to cross the Atlantic, just south of the Arctic Circle, in an open rigid inflatable boat.

The route has been attempted once before, in 1997, when an ice-breaker was needed to rescue the team from crushing pack ice.

You're in the area of icebergs and quite large ice flows up there and polar bears possibly as well
Shaun White

They were all perilously close to hypothermia.

Leading the latest challenge is adventurer Bear Grylls, 28.

Five years ago he overcame a parachuting accident to become the youngest Briton ever to climb Everest.

The crew will set off from Nova Scotia in Canada in July, and are due to return to the UK at the end of September.

Building a boat capable of surviving the journey has been a challenge, according to Shaun White of Ocean Dynamics.

"They can survive certainly the sort of conditions they're going to experience up in the Arctic which potentially could be quite bad," he said.

"I mean you're in the area of icebergs and quite large ice flows up there and polar bears possibly as well.

Icebergs could provide a major obstacle

"It should be quite well suited for that."

The boat has an aluminium hull and is powered by a water jet engine to prevent it snagging on the ice.

"Technically, you can actually drive the boat up an ice flow," added Mr White.

"It's a tough boat - it will do the job."

Ocean Dynamics was founded in 1975 and now employs 20 at the workshop.

The company has built speciality boats for the environmental group Greenpeace, oil companies and the rescue services.

"Speciality boats tend to attract customers who are doing rather quirky things," said Mr Wright.

The boat is worth about 250,000 but the Atlantic expedition has been sponsored by a variety or companies and organisations.

The attempt is being made to raise money for the Prince's Trust.

Britain's new wave of explorers
15 Jan 03  |  UK News
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15 Jan 03  |  UK News
Briton's joy at polar record
03 Jan 03  |  England

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