Together with Flying Fish Hovercraft’s Benn Bristow, Lee Denver set a first last Sunday, by taking his Marlin II hovercraft from Dover to France’s Cap Blanc Nez, an open water journey of approximately 23 miles.
The 41 year old was injured in an accident 12 years ago and left without the use of his lower body so the challenge of taking on the notoriously dangerous English Channel was not without it’s risks, and the crossing was accompanied by Lance Oram from the Channel Swimming & Piloting Federation, who also provided the official timing.
Lee completed the crossing to France in just one hour fourteen minutes, which makes him the first disabled person to pilot one of these amazing machines across the channel. Benn Bristow and his passenger Mark Leeming accompanied Lee (as did a school of Porpoises!) and together the two craft flew onto the beach to be confronted by dozens of well wishing locals. Following a few pictures and some high-fiving, Benn & Mark returned to Dover in just 59 minutes. For Lee however, the journey had to remain a one way affair, as the conditions combined with fatigue to prevent him returning to Dover in his craft.
Flying Fish completed their first two way crossing in 2008, when Russ Pullen & Nelson Wood completed the journey to France in 57 m, and then returned in 52 minutes, an unofficial record for small hovercraft.
Afterwards, Lee was philosophical about his trip and obviously disappointed that he was unable to return in his craft, but delighted with his achievement and well satisfied with the £2000.00 that his trip raised for the ‘Help for Heroes’ charity. He thanked Flying Fish Hovercraft, and sponsors, JetSki World, Jomac Carpentry, Adventure Companies ‘Into the Blue’ and ‘Attraction World’, Sign from Above and Basic Boat Liability Insurance.
Before the ‘off’ in Dover Harbour
Leaving Harbour into some fairly choppy conditions
Met up with some friends mid-channel!
Attracting some attention from the locals in France!
Setting out for home.
Lee & Benn returning to Dover.