Len Surtees aims to be the oldest person in the smallest boat to solo circumnavigate Australia.
Len Surtees aims to be the oldest person in the smallest boat to solo circumnavigate Australia. Valerie Horton

Solo sailor set for voyage

IT COULD be the title of some popular children's book - the oldest sailor in the smallest boat - but instead those are two records Len Surtees is chasing as he attempts to solo circumnavigate Australia non-stop and unassisted.

Mr Surtees' nine-metre vessel, Zeavard, which was named after an epic Viking hero, has been his labour of love for the past two years.

In between working fulltime with an engineering firm that caters to the Western Australian mining industry, the talented hands-on sailor built his catamaran up from nothing.

With construction complete, he set off from his Tin Can Bay home port last week before minor mechanical difficulty forced him to dock at Urangan marina for repairs.

But while the breakdown may have inconvenienced the 62-year-old, it came as some-what of a blessing for Fraser Coast residents, who now get an opportunity to share in his new world record attempt of solo circumnavigating Australia non-stop and unassisted from Hervey Bay to Hervey Bay.

"I (left yesterday) with the outgoing tide," Mr Surtees said.

"One important aspect to note is that I'm attempting this journey to raise money for cancer, I'm trying to raise $10,000 for Cancer Council Queensland."

Mr Surtees, who once built boats in California, last performed a similar feat some 40 years ago when he sailed from Canada to Mexico.

At the time he was in his 20s, and admits while he expects this expedition to be more challenging, he holds no fear for his own safety.

You can follow Len's progress or contact him at surteesmultihulls.com



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