Under 900 miles to go

Pete Goss and the intrepid family crew of Spirit of Mystery have less than 900 nautical miles to go as they make their way towards Melbourne from the UK, but another storm is brewing as they prepare for the last big push.

154 years ago, a small wooden Mounts Bay lugger called Mystery rounded the headland and passed almost unnoticed into Port Philip bay, Australia. A pilot came on board and was amazed at the story the crew had to tell.

The seven on board, who were all related by blood or marriage, had sailed their 37-foot long fishing boat from Newlyn in Cornwall to Australia to escape poverty and seek out a new life in the Australian gold fields. The pilot escorted them to Williamstown where they landed after four months and 11,800 nautical miles. Such a passage was unheard of at the time. To put this in perspective, Joshua Slocum, considered the father of Ocean Sailing, was only ten years old when the men made this voyage. Several of them had never been out of sight of land before.

Now, sailor and adventurer Pete Goss has recreated that voyage to shine a light on the bravery of the original crew of the Mystery. Australia is thought to have the largest number of Cornish descendents in the world, some of whom are related to the original crew of the Mystery. It is now hoped that as many people as possible, including some of those descendents and relatives, will turn out to make the arrival of Spirit of Mystery a much less low-key affair.

Pete, who is proud of his Westcountry roots, also spent many years in Australia before leaving aged 12. His younger brother and fellow crew member Andy was born in Swan Hill. Pete’s youngest son Eliot (14) and brother in law Mark Maidment complete the crew, which like the original is a family affair. Pete says that he can’t wait to step ashore in Australia again and meet up with as many of the families, friends, supporters and followers as possible:

“This has been an amazing trip and it has given me renewed admiration for the original crew of the Mystery. They faced untold dangers and hardship in their journey to seek out a new life down under. It is no surprise that Australia has become such a great place, built as it was on the tough and pioneering spirit of people like them; I want to shake the hands of their relatives.”

But they are not there yet and another storm is due to pass by them in the next 24 hours. Pete said on his blog from the boat:

“We have a big old blow on the way making today a rather subdued affair as we wait for another work out. It’s the waiting that’s the worst part making everyone a bit withdrawn as they work it through. For all that, Eliot and I had a really good call home. It’s always the highlight of the week but this one was special because Olivia, my beautiful daughter, is eighteen today and I am so proud of her. It was also lovely to have a chat with Tracey for there is great excitement in the air for she flies tomorrow. So bring it on and let’s get some miles out of the 870NM that we have left to do.”

Updates will be given as the voyage progresses and people can follow Spirit of Mystery via Pete’s website which features a satellite tracking facility. Pete also writes an engaging daily blog from the boat, which can be seen on his website at More here