Challenge and Adventure’s Colin Merry attended a talk by Pete last night at the Royal Victoria yacht club. It was billed as ”Talisker Tales”. It turned out to be four separate talks taking in most if not all of his sailing life leading up to arriving in Spirit of Mystery. There was a hilarious section when in the Royal Marines he was told that he was doing the double handed race to New York from England. Both he and his partner didn’t have a clue how to navigate to America so they followed the sunsets and the vapour trails of the jets flying overhead! The second part was about the Vendee in which he rescued fellow competitor Rapheal Dinelli’. I don’t remember anyone moving so much as a muscle during this narrative! Team Philips got her own slot with video to back up the fact that she worked and worked well. Then came the story of ’”Spirit of’Mystery” from her inception through the build period and finally the voyage with all it’s highs and lows! All in all an evening of pure sailing pleasure listening to a man who can capture and carry an audience! An evening that this reporter would thoroughly recommend to anyone who has the slightest interest in sailing or adventure!
A good sunny autumn days sunshine greeted the ”Gallant little ship” as she made her way through ”The Heads” across Port Philip bay to the Royal Victoria yacht club’s landing pontoon. Having last been on her over four and a half months ago my eye could pick up the wear and tear that had occurred over nearly twelve thousand NM. of sailing. More obvious though was the damage sustained during the knock down. The beautifully crafted rowing boat no longer there and just torn wood where the chocks to hold her should have been! A piece of the gunwale planking on the port side and with it some sponsors names that were engraved seemingly for all time torn away as if by some angry hand! In spite of this she looked positively magnificent and the crew tried to harness what little breeze there was with the tan sails making a nice contrast to the backdrop of blue sky. Pulling alongside in our press boat we shouted a few hello’s. I could see that the guys were so much leaner than I remembered. Tired looking but smiles all round as they threaded through the flotilla of boats that had come out to greet them. A small delay whilst they dropped the sails and stowed them before motoring into the club landing stage. On the pontoon Mark, the crew member who a few days earlier had had the misfortune to be on deck when that rogue wave struck. His leg now pinned and bolted and obviously still giving him severe grief waited. I had the pleasure of taking the stern line from Pete’s hand, an honour that I was promised way back all those months ago in cold wet England! On the club front lawn a cornish band took up a song as the crew, Mark now being pushed in his wheelchair by Pete made their way to the veranda clutching Cornish pasties and glasses of beer! The welcome speeches were made and acknowlegement to the tenacity of the guys who had done this all those years ago. All in all a fitting end to a voyage that had started in England last October in the teeth of a Channel gale to come to it’s climax here on the lawn of the Royal Victoria yacht club in beautiful sunshine.
Article and Photos By Colin Merry, Challenge and Adventure
Pete Goss speaks of their arrival “Yesterday was an amazing day for it saw Spirit of Mystery moor up at the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria. Having dropped Mark off in Portland we borrowed safety gear to replace that which was lost in the storm and went straight back to sea. It was so good to see Mark off in safe hands and to have some fresh food which had been dropped on board. Breakfast the next day consisted of bacon and egg sandwiches and the fruit was out of this world. The melon was particularly evocative both to the taste buds and nose. We could smell it on deck.
With the weather being very light, on the nose and with a horrible slop running it would have taken anything up to five days to make Melbourne. We had a good old chat about it and decided to motor for a while for as far as we were concerned the Spirit of the original voyage had been served and it was time to get in. We were terribly tired having had about two hours sleep a day for a week and I didn’t want to give the next depression a chance to start chasing us down. Apart from anything our schedule had slipped to the point that we might miss some people who had flown out to meet us.
On rounding Cape Otway the wind freshened and we were off on a fetch for Melbourne under a bright sky and lovely warm sun. It was perfect and we took some time out from working on Spirit of Mystery to enjoy. We put some popcorn on the stove, had a Coke and enjoyed the coast slipping by for it was beautiful. Particularly as we have had nothing but grey, grey, grey for the last two months. A lovely evening rolled into a bright moonlight night and being ahead of the tidal gate at the entrance to Port Philip we hove too and just enjoyed the atmosphere. In fact I had a quiet moment on deck reflecting on the last year and a half and how lucky we all are to have had such an amazing experience. In fact there was a hint of sadness under the excitement of arriving that it was all about to come to an end.
Just before sunup we entered Port Philip and were met by a Coutta Boat which is a traditional boat which reminded me of a Falmouth work boat. Fortunately for us the yacht ‘Secretary’ was just ahead of us and hearing us on the VHF to port control offered to hang back and take us through the western channel. Just as we cleared this Mark Lloyd turned up on a helicopter and we did a photoshoot which included putting up St Pirans – they are stunning. A welcome fleet soon started to build up as we closed Melbourne and the sense of anticipation built. As we closed the marina we noticed a crowd and on closing them realised that they were all dressed in traditional Cornish clothes and waving St Pirans flags.
Mark was there in his wheelchair so we were reunited and it just felt right to have him there as we brought the trip to conclusion. It’s all a blur; at the top of the gangway we were met by Derek Trewarne of the Cornish association of Victoria with a pint and a Pasty. There was a wall of press, Eliot gave his first interview and we moved up to the club to be officially welcomed. Commodore Tony Spencer opened the proceedings with the Mayor and Derek Trewarne speaking. It was the loveliest atmosphere, I can’t remember what I said but it concluded with thanks to Peter Harris, the Mayor, Tony Spencer, Janet Dawes, David Seaman, Lindsay Chapman and the Rescue services. I then asked asking the Mayor to sign our inflatable globe and had a Talisker.
From there it was off to a shower, lovely meal and a load of interviews with the UK and the deepest of sleeps. I woke up in the same position as I lay down.”
Pete Goss and the crew of Spirit of Mystery have arrived in Melbourne Australia after an epic five-month and 11,800-mile journey. No doubt Pete will do a full blog update in due course, but for now he and the crew are spending a little family time together before getting their heads down.
We would like to Congratulate Pete Goss, Eliot Goss, Andy Goss and Mark Maidment and the rest of the Spirit of Mystery Team on a job well done. Challenge and Adventure will bring you photos of their arrival and celebration soon.
It was great news to hear Mark Maidment has been safely transferred to a hospital and has undergone surgery to repair his leg.
Challenge and Adventure’s Correspondent Colin Merry has traveled Australia and will be on hand to meet Pete and his crew as they arrive at the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria. We will have photos of their arrival.
Here is the latest news from Pete Goss, “This is a news update concerning the Spirit of Mystery, the 11 metre wooden lugger that was knocked over in the Southern Ocean on Tuesday morning injuring crewman Mark Maidment.
Mark was taken off the boat at Portland yesterday and airlifted to the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, where he underwent an operation to his broken right leg. He is now resting comfortably in hospital after a rod and pins were attached to his tibia. Mark hopes to be released tomorrow in time to meet his colleagues who are due to arrive in Williamstown between 1.30 and 3.30 pm.
The winds have been much kinder to Spirit of Mystery since the knock-down, which is expected at Port Phillip Heads between 5.00 and 6.00 am tomorrow, Monday 9th March. It is hope that a flotilla of small boats will meet the vessel between Point Gellibrand and Fawkner Beacon and follow her into the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria (120 Nelson Place, Williamstown) where she is due to arrive between 1.30 and 3.30 pm.
Members of the public are invited to come down to the Yacht Club and watch as Spirit of Mystery completes her five month and 11,800 mile voyage. The crew, comprising of skipper Pete Goss, his younger brother Andy and Pete’s 14 year-old son Eliot will be welcomed to Melbourne by VIP guests including the Mayor of Hobsons Bay, Peter Hemphill and the President of the Cornish Association of Victoria Derek Trewarne.
Pete Goss said: “The emergency services have been fantastic and we have been so well looked after by all the Australians who have been involved with the project. We hope to see lots of boats out to welcome us in and can’t wait to shake as many hands as possible when we come alongside.”
Mark Maidment said: “Obviously I am disappointed that I won’t be on board as she sails in, but I am looking forward to being reunited with the crew after all we have been through together.”
The vessel’s progress can be monitored on the project website: www.petegoss.com.”
The Latest Messages from Pete Goss assure that the crew is coping and they plan to arrive in Portland tomorrow.
Here is exerpts from Petes latest “Its feels like a lifetime since I have done a blog for things have been a real handful since we were caught up in what turned out to be ‘the’ storm of the trip; It just had to be the last one didn’t it. As you will know we were struck by a huge wave on the starboard quarter which slammed poor old Spirit of Mystery well beyond ninety degree‘s. In doing so Mark’s right leg was broken between the knee and ankle. Additional damage to the boat included the loss of Life raft, Dinghy and Man overboard equipment. Lots of other bits and bobs were torn from the boat and swept away. There was some damage to the Bulwark planking and where lashing points were ripped apart with what was shocking force there is exposed wood, screws and bolts. All primary structure is sound including the rudder and spars and I am left grateful that we were on Spirit of Mystery when it happened for any other boat would have been crippled. Below was absolute chaos with the port side of the boat up to and beyond the deckhead awash due to a huge amount of water below. Equipment was everywhere despite having the boat all strapped down for the storm.
I will do a proper blog/article on the storm in a couple of days once I find the time for we have not stopped since it happened. I guess the best we have been managing is about three hours sleep every twenty four so we have been stretched. As a crew we have all risen to the challenge and I feel immense pride in what has been achieved through fantastic teamwork and attitude. Mark has been an inspiration in the way he has handled the appalling consequences of his injury and the long drawn out aftermath which will start to draw to a conclusion once we get him ashore tomorrow. Imagine being in a storm on a small yacht with a wild and unpredictable motion and having to get below with the lower half of your leg flopping about, bones grinding away just to make sure you know things are not right. Below can offer but little comfort as it is flooded and the storm is not by any means over. I can tell you it takes great courage and fortitude and in witnessing it we have all been humbled.
His leg has been the centre of our world for the last handful of days as we try to get him ashore as soon as possible. Eliot and Andy have been outstanding in supporting Mark and getting our little world back towards some kind of order. We still have a lot to do but as of today feel we are getting on top of things and starting to be proactive rather than reactive. Marks leg has been more than the centre for our world for it has radiated out to the Australian rescue services and to Dr Spike Briggs of ‘Medical Support Offshore Ltd’ who are covering our medical backup. I just can’t tell you how fantastic they have been both in the spirit and professionalism that has been demonstrated.
One of our problems has been damage to our communications making information flow challenging. We have had two planes overfly us, the last making a drop of extra morphine to manage the pain and a satellite phone for communications. The drops were an outstanding piece of flying, three canisters all landing within a 100 metres of the bow. At the moment Mark is in his berth with his leg stabilized to the point we are happy to stand down a helicopter extraction. We are motor sailing towards Portland which just under 100NM away and will be met by a Coast Guard Launch at dawn with a paramedic on board. If conditions allow we may transfer Mark there otherwise we take him into Portland ourselves.
Spirits are as high as they have ever been on this trip although we are desperately upset to be losing Mark at this stage of the voyage. Mark has no option but to put a brave face on things but it is tough after so much effort over the last year and half as we have worked towards our goal of reaching Melbourne. This trip was inspired by seven Cornishmen who set sail in 1854 for a better life in Australia. It remains the same, that is our focus, if anything we are even more inspired and will keep pushing on in the hope that Mark will be able to meet us on the dock in Melbourne with a pasty and pint.
I am sorry not to have been able to give you the blogs that I would have wanted too but trust you understand the situation we have been labouring under. Mandy tells us that many of you have sent in messages of support I have to say it means an awful lot to us. I look forward to writing a proper blog on the experience and all those that supported us in our time of need so selflessly.
This is a news update concerning the ongoing situation with the Spirit of Mystery, which was knocked over by a large wave at about 23.30 hours GMT on Tuesday 3rd March (0930 hours boat time Wednesday 4th March) about 300 Nautical Miles South South-West of Kangaroo Island off Adelaide, South Australia.
Spirit of Mystery is currently making her way towards Portland on the South Coast of Australia. It has been decided not to attempt a helicopter transfer of the casualty, Mark Maidment, for two reasons: Firstly, Mark’s condition is stable and comfortable; and secondly, helicopter transfers carry their own risks, especially in rolling seas. Usually a casualty would be transferred to a life raft and towed behind the vessel, from which a helicopter can winch the crewman to safety. However, the life raft has been lost in the knock down that caused the injury and damage.
Responsibility for the operation has been handed back from AMSA to the Victoria Police Rescue Coordination Centre. The intention is for Spirit of Mystery to continue towards Portland where Mark will be taken off the vessel and receive medical attention to his broken leg.
It is the crew’s intention to continue towards Melbourne where they hope to arrive on Tuesday 10th March. Mark (44 years old and a serving Police Officer in the UK) has made it clear he wants the crew to finish their voyage.
Pete Goss (47) is the skipper of the boat that is re-enacting (with his crew comprising of his younger brother Andy (40), Pete’s son Eliot (14) and brother in law Mark Maidment) the journey of seven Cornishmen who made the journey from Cornwall in the UK to Williamstown, Victoria to seek out a new life in the gold fields of Victoria 154 years ago. Pete is no stranger to the dangers of the Southern Ocean – he was awarded the MBE and Legion D’Honneur following his dramatic single-handed rescue of fellow competitor Raphael Dinelli in the 1996/7 Vendee Globe race.
Pete said: “It is a great shame that Mark is unable to complete the voyage with us and we will miss him terribly the moment he is taken off the boat. But it is his wish that we continue to Melbourne, where we hope to see as many boats as possible come out to guide us in to Williamstown.”
Mark is determined to be fit and able enough to be there himself to greet his fellow crew members.
People can follow events as they unfold on the project website: www.petegoss.com, which features a daily blog, satellite tracking system and regular news updates. Members of the public are welcome to come down to the Royal Victoria Yacht Club to meet the crew and further details will be posted on the website in due course.
Members of the public can hear all about the adventures of the crew at a Talisker Tales event on Thursday 19th March 2009 at the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria. Details are available on the website.