Tom McClean is an adventurer, as far as possible nowadays. Abandoned in a orphanage when he was child, he joined the Army and he was a SAS paratrooper for 10 tens, many of which in Borneo. When he came back home, in Scotland, he abandoned his military career but he saved his passion for extraordinary challenges.
In 1969, while Armstrong was reaching the moon, Tom McClean was the first man to cross the Atlantic on a rowboat, from the West to the East. In 1982 he crossed the Atlantic again on a 9′.9” sailing boat he had built himself. When, after few weeks, the record for the crossing with the smallest boat was beaten, Tom sawed his boat (which, at that point, was 7′.9”, less than 2.5 metre long) and he left again to take the record back. He was successful, even if he dismasted.
In 1985, driven by his patriotism, he lived on Rockall cliff for over a month to support the British territorial claim. The nationality of the cliff is contended by the United Kingdom, Ireland, Iceland and Denmark and history saw only two attempts to live on the island, in addition to McClean’s one, since it is very difficult to get it. But ocean is his passion; in fact, when he returned home, he decided to cross it again by his rowboat. Then, he built a boat with the same shape of a beer bottle in order to find a sponsor easily (which later became a tea brand…).
But his most spectacular experience was the last one: Tom McClean has built a 60-foot iron whale and he wants to use it for a new ocean crossing. The boat-whale, called Moby, is about 8 metre high and it really looks like a whale with even the possibility to splash water from the back. Moby, designed and built by McClean himself after that some naval engineers defined his project a crazy thing, has been ready for 20 years. It did a test run around the British coasts in the 90’s and it has been waiting for a financier to face the Atlantic. McClain has decided to provide it with an electric engine and to count on the scenographic impact of the boat, with the hope that associations like Greenpeace could help him. Meanwhile, he keeps quiet on the banks of Lake of Loch and he offers any sort of adventures to his recreation centre’s customers.
The (beautiful) photos are by Luke Montgomery and they have been published by Vice in a long article dealing with Tom McClean and Moby.