Who needs a big fancy yacht to sail across the Atlantic. Meet the 23-year-olds setting off in a Folkboat


Small and simple. Henry Adams’s 26ft Folkboat Ariel is all you need to cross the Atlantic. There’s no need to wait for retirement, or until you can afford a big boat or a big budget. As I said before , you don’t need special boat or special downwind sails or expensive gear like a generator or watermaker. If these useful but inessential things are stopping you, liberate your mind.

There won’t be too many comforts for Henry (right) and his friend Tim Fosh, but do they look bothered? This year alone, they’ve sailed round Britain and down to the Canaries, and the two 23-year-old graduates are going cruising until February.

Ariel is Henry’s family’s boat, a modern glassfibre Folkboat built in 2001. It’s the smallest boat in the ARC rally this year, but I reckon it’s a safer proposition that some larger mass-produced boats. The only thing is they’ll have to take it easy to start because Ariel normally displaces 2 tonnes and she’ll be 50 per cent heavier by the weekend.

They won’t have to worry about mechanical failure, though, because what’s to break? Ariel has no engine, only an outboard engine, a solar panel for power, a one-burner spirit stove, a 100lt flexible water tank and lots and lots of bottled water. It’s just about the sailing.

They do, however, say that when the sun shines they might have some spare power to watch a DVD or two. Lads, that’s cheating. You should be carving scrimmage and making models out of matchsticks.