Moral Low Ground

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‘The Moral High Ground’: 85-Year-Old Crosses Atlantic Ocean on Raft for Water Charity

An 85-year-old grandfather from London and his three-man crew have crossed the Atlantic Ocean on a raft built from plastic pipes, the BBC reports.

The An-Tiki leaves the Canary Islands

Anthony Smith, a former BBC presenter, and his crew, all old-age pensioners, completed the 2,800 mile (4,596 km), 66-day journey to raise awareness of the fact that a billion people– nearly 1 out of every 7 on earth– do not have access to clean water. Smith hopes to have raised ₤50,000 ($81,575) for the charity WaterAid.

Smith and his crew, John Russell, David Hildred and Andrew Bainbridge, all at least 56 years old, set sail from the Canary Islands and landed on the Dutch Caribbean island of St. Maarten. Their vessel, a 39-foot (12 meter) long raft named the An-Tiki, was built using pipes. A 400-square-foot sail powered the craft; twin rudders and oars steered it. The crew originally intended on ending their journey in the Bahamas, but strong winds and powerful currents forced them to change course.

Smith, speaking before setting sail, said: “Water strikes at the very heart of need. To voyage almost 3,000 miles upon the salty kind will make us intensely aware of places in the world that are without adequate supplies.”

Following their amazing voyage, crew member Russell told the BBC that he was looking forward to “a nice shower and washing the salt off me… And having a nice steak to eat. We haven’t had fresh food for a long time. We’ve been living out of tins. Our fresh fruit and vegetables ran out a long time ago.”

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