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US sailors shelter at Yarmouth port

PUBLISHED: 14:05 03 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:54 03 July 2010

Intrepid Americans Bob (left) and Ralph Brown who are aiming to break the Guinness World Record for crossing the Atlantic in the world's smallest powerboat and raise money for servicemen.

Intrepid Americans Bob (left) and Ralph Brown who are aiming to break the Guinness World Record for crossing the Atlantic in the world's smallest powerboat and raise money for servicemen.

WITH the Maritime Festival just around the corner, the town is already playing host to a diverse range of vessels.

But perhaps the most unusual boat to dock this week made an unscheduled stop last night after running into choppy waters during a cross Atlantic expedition to break a world record.

The Dreamboats Intruder-21 flat boat used for the cross Atlantic voyage.

WITH the Maritime Festival just around the corner, the town is already playing host to a diverse range of vessels.

But perhaps the most unusual boat to dock this week made an unscheduled stop last night after running into choppy waters during a cross Atlantic expedition to break a world record.

The Intruder-21 flat boat, carrying American brothers Ralph, 50, and Bob Brown, 52, is more suited for use in the shallow waters of Florida's Everglades, but had somehow survived the 7,000 mile trip from Tampa, Florida.

The intrepid siblings are raising money for wounded servicemen in north America and Britain and are also trying to break the Guinness World Record for the smallest powerboat to ever cross the Atlantic.

Their unplanned stop in Great Yarmouth happened after they ran into 50mph gusts half a mile off the Yarmouth coast during torrential weather and heavy rain, and forced them to call out the Gorleston-based RNLI lifeboat who helped direct them to safety and moorings off Riverside Road in Gorleston.

Ralph, a former sergeant in the US Marines, was inspired to organise the “I am Second Wounded Hero Voyage” in memory of his fellow marines, Sgt John Harvey, Cpl George Holmes and Staff Sgt Dewey Johnson, who died during an ill-fated mission to rescue US Embassy hostages in Iran in 1980.

Ralph, who lives in Spring Hill near Tampa, had been due to go on the mission, but another regiment was called up instead.

The brothers have made a number of stops to refuel since leaving America on June 27 - in Canada, Greenland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands, but said the choppiest waters were as they were approaching the Shetland and Orkney islands.

Surviving on just tinned food and bread, the brothers have had to sleep in the open air at the back of the boat with just their clothes to keep them warm and much of their equipment has been broken after their boat, designed for waters seven or eight inches deep, was pounded by waves. It has a top speed of 20 knots.

Ralph said: “I just kept saying to myself 'She can stand the waves, help us Lord.' It reminded me of the importance of keeping my mind and focus on what had to be done.”

They left Yarmouth this morning to make their next stop in London, before their adventure finishes in Frankfurt, Germany.

To support their appeal, visit www.crosstheatlantic.com.


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