Graham Walters displays his 15-foot rowboat Puffin in fine company 15/9/07
One of the most remarkable stories from this year’s Boat Show comes from one of the smallest vessels on display. Hidden amongst the 60ft luxury Princess yachts and gleaming Oysters is nestled the scratched and scarred, but equally proud, 15-foot ocean rowboatPuffin.
This is, of course, not any old rowing boat, but the infamousPuffinin which David Johnstone and John Hoare made the first, tragically ill-fated, attempt to row across the Atlantic in 1966. The Canadian coastguard later retrieved the wreck about three months after the two had set out, and returned her to England where she was exhibited across the country. It wasn’t until many years later, and in a much more sorry state, that Graham Walters spotted her and decided to complete the transatlantic crossing Johnstone and Hoare had begun 40 years ago.
Graham completed the 2,978-mile journey in just under 100 days, arriving in St Bart’s earlier this year (see photo). The 15-footPuffinbecame the shortest ocean rowboat to cross any ocean, and the Guinness Book of Records will present Graham Walters with his certificate at the Boat Show later in the week.
Graham commented: “It’s great to be a part of the Southampton Boat Show and be able to publicise the work of the Ocean Rowing Society. My only worry was how I was going to get her in the other day. I ended up having to get towed in through all the yachts.” You can meet and talk to Graham at Berth 362.