VISNEWS filmed the feverish activity on Medano Beach, Tenerife, Canary Islands. Dec. 11 as crew?
VISNEWS filmed the feverish activity on Medano Beach, Tenerife, Canary Islands. Dec. 11 as crew members and assistants prepared the balloon 'The Small World' for take off Dec. 12 in an attempt to sail 3,000 miles across the Atlantic. They will use the Trade Winds, following a similar course taken by Columbus when setting off from Tenarife in 1492.
The crew consists of three men and a woman. Led by 51 year old Arnold 'Bushy' Elioart the rest of this plucky band are 21 year old Timothy Elioart, son of 'Bushy' the Radio Operator; 32 year old Colin Mudie, navigator and designer of the serial car, and his wife 30 year old Rosemary Mudie, who cooks the meals on a one pan stove.
The 'living' and working space of this 'Kon-Tiki' of the air, is the eleven feet by five feet gondola suspended below the 46ft hydrogen filled bag. In this space they take hourly sextant readings...check wind speed and direction..cook meals... take photographs...and carry out an intensive scientific survey programme. Most of available space is occupied by a system of pedals operating helicopter-type blades which give lift to the balloon and regulate its height. They operate a 'shift' duty of four hours on and four off for two members at a time, but when the balloon begins to lose altitude, as it frequently does, it is 'all hands to the pedals'.
Radio contacts with the craft are at the moment very irregular. It is thought this is because the batteries have become weak through continual loss of height and subsequent 'pedalling' forward. The batteries charge when pedalling in reverse. When last radio contact was made with 'The small World' Dec. 17 midnight, she had already broken the Worlds Free Balloon endurance record by some 58 hours.
Although they can 'manufacture' drinking water aboard by using four Solar 'stills' to condense sea water, anxiety is felt because they were forced to jettison some water bags on take-off.
All of them being experienced yachtsmen they are convinced that should they come down in the sea they can sail the craft as a boat for the rest of the crossing.