A yacht with a history of bright ideas, failed dreams, disability and debt has a new crew
I recognised this ARC boat right away. For a yacht that is only six years old she has an incredibly colourful history.
The 40ft wood epoxy Per Mare, as she now is, was designed in 2000 by a 28-year-old by the name of Alex Ransby. Ransby himself had an interesting story to tell, having worked in the City, become a wine merchant, by his own admission taken a fair amount of cocaine and run up large debts, and he was crippled by juvenile arthritis.
Inspired by Pete Goss’s Aqua Quorum, Ransby adapted the the concept of a favourite 31ft Van de Stadt design from the 1970s, Trump Card, added some ideas from Open 50s and 60s and designed a boat that he built himself in an old potato shed in Bosham. He named the boat HSA Hip Joint, as he was waiting for an artificial hip, and his idea was to sail round the world along the route of the Vendée Globe while he still could.
I thought it was madness, given his medical condition and sailing experience, and Ransby admitted to me: “Everyone thinks I’m taking the piss. They think I shouldn’t be doing this.”
Eventually he did leave, but sailed for North America and had to be rescued off Newfoundland. The boat was sailed back to Portsmouth, where a writ was placed on it because of outstanding debts and eventually it was sold by the Admiralty to Gerry Goodwin, an ex-Marine from Portsmouth.
Gerry has been using his boat to train disadvantaged kids through the Meridian Trust Association and is leaving this weekend on the ARC. He is pictured above, in the centre with crew Grant Hesk (right) and Ian Parrotte. After all these years, St Lucia will be the furthest the boat has ever got from home.