Cornish lugger checked over for next leg

After his Christmas Day arrival in Cape Town, Pete Goss and his thre crew are preparing the wooden Cornish lugger for her next leg: to Melbourne.

Spirit of Mystery spent two months at sea from Newlyn and the crew were ecstatic at arriving back on land in time for Christmas as Pete explained:

‘Over the years I have been privileged to have experienced a wide variety of Christmases from childhood through to the Royal Marines. If I put saving Raphael Dinelli during the Vendee Globe at the top of the list then yesterday would come a very close second for it was perfect.

‘As we rolled into the 25th of December 2008 the wind increased and Spirit of Mystery Mystery lifted her skirts and made a run for Cape Town surfing on the residual swell from our big blow. It was a beautiful night which although a bit chilly allowed us the freedom of just wearing thermals; always very liberating after a few days in full gear.

‘Eliot spotted the first sight of land in the dark as we were putting our final reef into the big lug and a frisson of excitement swept through the boat. We were actually going to make Cape Town for Christmas with the family and Eliot was effervescent with excitement; singing and dancing a little jig on the foredeck.

‘Dawn could not have been any better as the sun rose to throw the mountain range into silhouette with a beautifully mellow golden sunrise which was unable to drown out the moon that sat above it all. Albatross capped it as they swept about us with efficient grace and suddenly we smelt Africa and I can tell you that after a couple of months at sea it has an evocative smell.

‘Cape Town was on us before we knew it and we called the families to let them know we would be in a couple of hours. We all had a shave, washed our hair and gave Spirit of Mystery a quick tidy up. Campbell came out in the Club launch to greet us and took Andy off for a picture with table Mountain in the background. It was, he said, an odd experience to see our fine little craft from the outside after so long living in our little nut shell.

‘I tied the South African Courtesy flag under tour big St Pirrans and it was this little act of tradition that really bought it home to me. We had done it and I stole a couple of minutes to reflect on this amazing project and the people that have made it happen. Like most good things in life this, a couple of years ago, was just another daft idea. Lots of hard work, commitment and an amazing team ranging from Chris Rees and all the suppliers, Cornwall Playing for Success, Stuart Elford, our sponsors and Mandy to name but a few have made this such a special experience.

‘The families were waving and shouting from the pontoon as we came in for a big hug. We made spirit fast and trundled into the bar for a well earned beer; it was cold, had condensation running down it and was like nectar. One of my memories is of Eliot taking his first gulp of a man’s size beer for he has stepped up to the plate, been there done that and earned it.

‘The rest is a happy blur; we found a restaurant with live music and tucked into a meal to die for. Jess, my niece, took to the stage and brought the place to a standstill. The house we are staying in is fantastic and the kitchen is bigger than Spirit of Mystery. As ever the little things mean so much more, a hot shower, cup of tea and toast.

‘I woke up after four hours of sleep and crept down to the office to look at the website and all the lovely messages of support that we have been sent since slipping from Newlyn all those miles ago. It was fantastic and I would like to sign off with a big thank you from the four of us for joining us on our adventure; Happy Christmas.’

Cheers Pete