Small Dole resident sails ‘bath tub’ in Solent despite icy start

Small Dole resident's bath tub challenge SUS-140406-123116001
Small Dole resident's bath tub challenge SUS-140406-123116001

An eccentric Small Dole resident and his colleague attempted to be the first duo to sail the Solent in a ‘bath tub’ made of ice last week.

Two adventurers took on the quirky challenge on Sunday (June 1), but had to resort to a raft resembling the shape of a bath tub, after their ‘tub’ completely made of ice melted in the water.

The stunt was orchestrated to spread awareness for the Great Sussex Bath Race which raises money for two Sussex charities, LifeCentre and Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice in Arundel.

Six men spent two hours chipping away to free the frozen crate (containing the ice bath mould) from the deep freeze only to find that it disintegrated shortly after entering the water at Alverstoke. Quite a crowd formed to watch this.

Neil Laughton of Small Dole and Jon Beswick were determined to undertake the journey across the Solent regardless, and proceeded to do so in a bath tub raft structure very similar to those we use for the Great Sussex Bath Race.

They set off at 1.15pm from Alverstoke, Gosport and reached land just near Osborne House, Isle of Wight at 5.25pm.

They avoided hazards along the way such as crossing the paths of ferries and huge tankers, one capsize and regular bailing out of vast amounts of water during their four hour and ten minute journey across the Solent.

Support crews including Neil’s ‘Dutch Barge’ and ‘3 Ribs’ shouted words of encouragement and threw across snacks and drinks to keep their energy levels up.

The Great Sussex Bath Race expects to raise over £25,000 for the two nominated charities this year and is being held on Sunday 22nd June.

The event is being supported by local businesses including Be Creative, Business Leadership Academy, Natural PR, The Gourmet Chef, Tomfoolery, Third Revolution Media and Westbourne House School, with CP Hart Bathrooms providing the bath tubs.

Neil Laughton is a seasoned adventurer who has completed the Explorers Grand Slam, piloted the world’s first ever road legal flying car from London to Timbuktu and more recently travelled to the South Pole with Jon Beswick to play a game of cricket to celebrate 100 years since Captain Scott’s Antarctic Polar Expedition.

For race details: