A well-known adventurer is in the final phases of his 20-year, £100,000 mission.

A 73-year-old former SAS trooper is in the final stages of a plan to sail a 65ft boat built in the shape of a whale 3,500 miles across the Atlantic.

Tom McClean has spent 20 years and nearly £100,000 building the great steel whale, Moby, from scratch at his home on the remote shores of Loch Nevis in the Scottish Highlands.

The 62-tonne Atlantic Whale Challenge project has been beached for the last three years, but McClean says he is now ready to begin preparations for his voyage from London to New York.

Of late, Moby has only completed short trips around nearby Hebridean bays, but according to McClean’s website, the craft has, in the past, completed a 2,000-mile, round-Britain trip.

The adventurer intends to make necessary repairs to the 10-man craft, redo the interior — adding a bath with gold plated faucets — and replace the old, smelly diesel engines with new electric engines.

McClean, who has set several sailing and rowing records and who now runs an outdoor education centre, told the Telegraph: “It makes you feel alive to have a challenge, not just working to pay the bills … I’ve learned to stick at things when other people might give up.”

The 25-foot high Moby has been offered up for sponsorship, and if successful, it wouldn’t be the first of McClean’s adventures to receive commercial backing. In 1990, McClean sailed the Atlantic in a 37ft boat shaped like a bottle which he had constructed himself. The boat was called the Typhoo Atlantic Challenger and sailed from New York to Falmouth, UK.

McClean was brought up in a wartime orphanage, worked on a farm in his teens and then joined the army’s Parachute Regiment at 17. He earned entrance into the elite SAS at 23 and three years later took on his first adventure challenge, becoming the first to row the Atlantic solo from west to east. He has set several other sailing and endurance records.

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