TWO brave sailors were this morning set to climb into huge, hollowed-out pumpkins and attempt to pilot them from Lymington to the Isle of Wight.

Ian Paton, of Pennington, and fellow sailor Dave Robbins, of Warsash, expect to take several hours to complete the four-mile crossing.

Their journey were beginning shortly after a regatta in which the pumpkins will be piloted by Blue Peter presenters Konnie Huq and Zoe Salmon.

Konnie and Zoe visited Pinetops Nursery, Pennington, yesterday to help convert the pumpkins into boats, complete with outboard engines.

The giant gourds have been grown by Ian and his brother Stuart.

Before it was hollowed out one of the pumpkins weighed half a ton - a new national record - and broke the scales at the annual pumpkin festival in Netley last weekend.

Today they were due to be christened PVCs - Personal Vegetable Craft - when they entered the water at the Royal Lymington Yacht Club.

Ian, 46, said: "Crossing the Solent in two giant pumpkins has never been done before and it's probably the longest sea voyage ever attempted in a vegetable. It will either work or it will go horribly wrong."

Proceeds will go to the Jubilee Sailing Trust and the BBC Children in Need Appeal.