ONE of two brothers, who made national headlines in 1949 after sailing across the Atlantic in a 20ft sloop they designed and built themselves, has died after a short illness, aged 96.
Colin Ross Smith and his brother, Stan, were feted as heroes for their 43-day voyage in the Nova Espero from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, to Dartmouth, Devon.
Colin Smith was born in Portsmouth and his family moved to Yarmouth where father, Stanley, joined his grandfather, Theo, in their boat design and building business.
He left Yarmouth School, aged 14, to become an apprentice at Saunders Roe, an aero and marine engineering company in East Cowes.
Mr Smith was unable to enlist during the Second World War because he was in a reserved occupation but he volunteered as a fire warden before joining the RAF Volunteer Reserves, piloting towed gliders, which silently carried troops, supplies and vehicles behind enemy lines.
He was followed into the RAF Volunteer Reserves by his brother and they were based at locations in Britain and Canada.
After being demobbed in 1947, the brothers returned to Canada to set up their own boat-building business. In 1949, they boarded the Aquitania, bound for Halifax, designing the Nova Espero on the way.
To promote their business and having built the Nova Espero, they decided to sail it to England. 
Their epic voyage in the boat, which had an upturned dinghy lashed to the deck to form a cabin, was reported on television and in newspapers and they received a heroes’ welcome.
Mr Smith stayed in England, marrying Muriel, and he worked as a draughtsman at Husbands Shipyard, Marchwood. 
He and his family then moved to Southampton where Mr Smith worked as an instructor at the technical college and also worked in colleges in Wisbech and Worthing.
He also became involved in keeping bees and was chairman of the West Sussex Beekeeping Association.
On retiring, he and Muriel returned to the Island, first to Wootoon Bridge then Seaview and finally Bouldnor. 
He took over the family boatyard, Theo Smith and Sons, which later became Colin R. Smith.
He was a keen painter, particularly seascapes and landscapes, and was chairman of the Island Art Society.
His wife died in 2006 and Mr Smith is survived by daughters, Cheril and Delphine, and grandsons, Benedict and Christopher.
The funeral will be held at the IW Crematorium on Thursday at 2.15pm.