In the bright sunshine and fresh westerly breeze, Lively Lady headed across the start line opposite Southsea Castle at 12.45pm to the sound of bagpipes and cheers.
July 2006 ~ There was champagne, tears, cheers and lots of waving, as Alan Priddy, his co-skippers Paul Webb and Darrell Cole, and young adults Jay Williams and Matt Vigar, slipped the lines on Lively Lady and headed out to the start line off Southsea Castle at 12.00pm on Friday 28th July. The crowds of relatives, well wishers, and dignitaries heard Sir Robin Knox-Johnston say the final words of farewell, before the sounds of ‘Search for a Hero’ played as Lively Lady sailed from the berth at Gunwharf Quay, Portsmouth followed by a flotilla of boats and photographers.
In the bright sunshine and fresh westerly breeze, Lively Lady headed across the start line opposite Southsea Castle at 12.45pm to the sound of bagpipes and cheers. The sturdy little ship then sailed past Cowes where the fleets were gathering for the start of Cowes Week, heading for her next stop, which will be St John’s, Newfoundland.
As Alan and his crew left, they were sailing a boat that does not look outwardly much different from the one Sir Alec Rose sailed back triumphantly into Portsmouth in July 1968 after successfully circumnavigating the world.
However, on board, much has changed. 38 years ago, the electronic navigation and communication technology now available would not even have been dreamt of. Today, Lively Lady is once again benefitting from the help of a local Portsmouth company that has provided the modern electronics and navigation equipment to help her sail around the world.
Raymarine, which is headquartered at Northarbour Road, Portsmouth, has become the title sponsor of The Lively Lady Project, and has completely re-fitted the vessel with the latest high-technology navigation and communication equipment.
Lively Lady is equipped with an ST60 instrument system, which provides information on the boat speed, water depth, and wind strength. This will be one of the main sources of information relied upon by the crew when sailing. In addition, for navigation and route planning, there is a C Series multifunction display combining chartplotter, radar and GPS (Global Positioning System) information overlaid on electronic ‘maps’ of the sea and coastline to show the vessel’s position at all times.
Another innovation – and one that single-handed sailor Sir Alec Rose would have appreciated – is the autopilot. The Raymarine autopilot, comprising a SmartPilot gyro course computer, drive unit and ST6002 control head, is connected to the rudder which steers the boat and, when set, will automatically keep Lively Lady on a steady course, enabling the crew to take a break from steering.
Bernard Jacob, who is a co-skipper on Lively Lady, is a Development Technician with Raymarine, and was extensively involved in fitting the products on board.
He said: “We have chosen the navigation equipment that will bring to life the information about the course, wind speed and direction, and the route we are taking. The young adults on board will have little or no knowledge of either sailing or navigating and these products are easy to use and quick to understand. More importantly, as they are a key element of the safety on board, they are proven to be incredibly reliable and hard wearing, which will be key on a long voyage like this.”
In order to communicate with other vessels while at sea, Raymarine has provided a Ray54E VHF radio. When Sir Alec Rose first raced Lively Lady in the 1964 Single-handed Transatlantic race, he had no means of communicating with other vessels at all and was surprised when he found he had finished fourth in the race.
Today, Lively Lady still sails well. Much of this is due to the strength of her original build. Lively Lady’s frames were made from Paduak, a considerably steadier timber than teak, which was imported in log from the Andaman Islands. This gave her strength and stability, even though it did pose some difficulties when installing the autopilot, as the frames were incredibly hard to drill into. “Other than that” said Bernard, “The installation of all the electronics on board was relatively straightforward, even though by modern standards the navigation area is very small and open to the elements. However, our colour daylight viewing screen on the C80 radar/chartplotter means that the data will be clear to read, whatever the conditions, and in any light .”
Captain Alec Rose, Sir Alec Rose’s son, was watching as Lively Lady left Gunwharf Quay, along with other members of the Rose family. He said: “This project is the ultimate expression of my father’s wish that the boat should be used in youth development through training.”
Fiona Pankhurst, International Marketing Manager at Raymarine said, “We are delighted to be able to make a major contribution to this project that will see a large number of young people from the Portsmouth area involved with a project that will change their lives. Raymarine has been involved with this project from the start, providing essential navigational and autopilot equipment for Lively Lady, and now as title sponsor, our additional support will help speed them on their way. Sir Alec Rose was helped on his original trip thanks to the generosity of local Portsmouth businesses, and we are proud to be able to carry on this tradition.”