Renee Pilcher

World record voyage plans

BOAT designer Len Surtees will soon attempt a dual world record to prove anyone can make a difference in the fight against cancer.

In September Mr Surtees, 62, will set sail on a solo, non-stop, unassisted circumnavigation of Australia as part of Cancer Council Queensland's new I Can for Cancer campaign.

If he achieves this epic goal he will become the oldest person to sail the smallest sailing vessel on a journey of this nature - making his two records eligible for registration by Guinness World Records.

Mr Surtees will leave Tin Can Bay and travel anti-clockwise around Australia, passing three oceans (the Pacific, Indian and Southern), four seas (the Coral, Arafura, Timor and Tasman) and pass five capes including Australia's most northern, western, southern and eastern.

At an average speed of five knots, Mr Surtees hopes to complete his journey in about 51 days.

The home stretch will be the last leg up the eastern seaboard to arrive back at Tin Can Bay in early November.

Existing at sea alone for over 50 days will be a mental and physical test.

More importantly, this challenge is a fundraising venture for the Queensland Cancer Council who are actively supporting Len's voyage.

A secondary challenge is to test the vessel, named Zeavard, in some of the toughest sailing conditions in the world.

Mr Surtees designed the boat and is confident it can handle the test.

The past few months have been busy for Mr Surtees, with most of his time taken up securing equipment and pursuing sponsorship for the voyage.

Despite a tough economical climate for marine businesses, several have assisted Len by giving him some good deals.

Several sponsors have backed the trip and Mr Surtees thanked Reefurl Australia, Tin Can Bay Signs, sail maker and rigger Colin Quin, Brian Popcock, Turvey Digital, Oceantrack.net and Great Circle Life Rafts for giving him the best chance at achieving his goal.

Anyone wishing to support Mr Surtees and Cancer Council Queensland can donate online at icanforcancer.org.au or over the phone on 1300 656 585.

Interest in sponsoring his journey can be expressed by phoning 0409 891 008.

Len Surtees' achievements

1973: Built a 31' Jim Brown-designed ocean-going trimaran in Canada and sailed it down the west coast of the USA to Mexico.

1980: Designed and built the first re-rightable, ocean-going trimaran. The boat was launched upside down to prove the intrinsic righting system would work and that the boat could be re-righted single-handed.

1990: Received an award from former Prime Minister Bob Hawke at Parliament House for his work helping people with disabilities enter the workforce.

2002: Inducted into the Model Aeronautical Association of Australia Hall of Fame for setting two world records with his free-flight gliders.

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