Youngsters help sail historic yacht as she heads towards the Atlantic

Schoolboy Jay Williams pictured at the helm of Lively Lady as the yacht begins her second circumnavigation, 38 years after Sir Alec Rose, a Portsmouth greengrocer, completed the first.

At noon on Friday 28 July the 36-foot ketch left Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth, for a start-line positioned off Southsea Castle. A huge crowd of supporters, including Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, waved the boat and her crew off as they left the dock, and a flotilla of spectator and press boats followed them out into Southampton water to watch the start of the first leg, which will take the boat across the Atlantic to St John’s, Newfoundland.

A series of youngsters selected from disadvantaged backgrounds are helping to sail the boat during her voyage. Hampshire lads Jay Williams and Matthew Vigar are onboard for the first leg and reportedly enjoying their trip so far. Unfortunately that hasn’t been the case for all on board: a combination of choppy seas and the unusual movement of the vessel led to co-skipper Darrell Cole suffering a bout of seasickness so serious that he asked to be dropped off in Falmouth.

After taking advantage of the stop to rebalance the boat, taking weight away from her bow to make her easier to steer, the rest of the crew left Falmouth last Monday morning, and reported to be making good progress as they headed South-West under rainy skies.