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Downham Market’s can-do Colin wants to be a record breaker

Colin Smith (right) who is attempting to cross the channel next year on a catamaran powered by a cycle.
left designer Martin Claxton and middle Keith King from the Samaritans. They've not built the craft yet but are working on it.

Colin Smith (right) who is attempting to cross the channel next year on a catamaran powered by a cycle. left designer Martin Claxton and middle Keith King from the Samaritans. They've not built the craft yet but are working on it.

An engineer hopes to steam his way into the record books by pedalling across the English Channel next year.

Colin Smith is aiming to complete the 21-mile crossing in five-and-a-half hours on the cycle powered catamaran he has designed.

The current world record for a pedal powered crossing of the English Channel is held by Pat Tucker who completed the journey in seven hours and six minutes during 2002.

Mr Smith, 46, of Lynn Road, Downham, will be setting off for France from Dover in August next year and hopes to raise money for the Lynn branch of the Samaritans.

After working on the design for months, Mr Smith has started to construct the catamaran with friend, Martin Claxton, of Elm Engineering.

And now the team is hoping to find a corporate sponsor to help with the £10,000 to £12,000 building costs.

Mr Smith, who works as an engineer at the Del Monte factory in Wisbech, said: “I am a can-do person.

“I am looking forward to the feeling of achievement after building the craft and taking it out on the sea.”

Mr Smith started to work on the propulsion system for the catamaran about nine months ago and says the design has steadily progressed from there.

He and Mr Claxton have begun to create the mould for the catamaran’s hulls, which will be made out of fibreglass.

They will be using an ordinary bike but will change the gearing.

Mr Smith hopes to have the catamaran built in six months’ time when it will be first tested out at Denver Sluice before a trial at Hunstanton.

Mr Smith said: “The river at Denver is a bit easier to swim ashore.”

He is also working on his fitness for the challenge and has a set up a bike in his workshop to practice.

Mr Smith will be backed by a support crew when he tackles the challenge .

He has chosen to support the Samaritans following the death of a friend and the Lynn branch of Samaritans are delighted with Mr Smith’s attempt.

Chris Livesey, who is a friend of the branch, said: “Colin will be a local hero if all goes to plan.”

If anyone wishing to sponsor the challenge contact Mr Livesey on 01406 364765 or emailchriswendylivesey@btinternet.com

 

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