Pete Goss’s new boat, Spirit of Mystery. All photos by
Mark Lloyd of Lloyd Images
Solo ocean racer Pete Goss’s latest project is to build a lugger to follow in the wake of the Mystery, which sailed from Cornwall to Australia to join the goldrush in 1854.
The Mystery was an open Mounts Bay lugger built in Newlyn. Times were hard and the seven Cornishmen, all related by either blood or marriage and shareholders in the boat, made the decision to try their luck in the goldrush over a pint in Newlyn’s Star Inn. It was suggested that the Mystery be sold to cover the passage, but being in good spirits after a couple of drinks Captain Richard Nicholls made an announcement. ‘I’ll take you in the Mystery,’ he said – and so the story began.
The Mystery measured 37ft in length with a beam of 11 feet 6 inches, and weighed 16 tons. Skipper and crew beached the boat to sheath her hull with zinc, decked her fore and aft, and set off.
The new Spirit of Mystery was launched a few days ago at Millbrook, near Torpoint in south east Cornwall, and was built by local craftsmen under designer and shipwright Chris Rees.
Goss’s intention is to research the original voyage, draw attention to the achievements of the original Mystery’s crew of seven Cornishmen, and to provide a vehicle to support the educational charity Cornwall Playing for Success.
But Pete also makes it clear that he has always wanted to build a wooden boat. And what a boat he has built! I’m sure we all hope the voyage is successful – but also that she comes back to the UK and finds a useful long-term purpose, as it would be nice to see her sailing around our shores.