Five world famous singlehanded yachts including Jester, Lively Lady, Suhaili, British Steel and Group 4 will be in Brixham for the Around Alone stopover in October


Five world famous singlehanded yachts including Jester, Lively Lady, Suhaili, British Steel and Group 4, are coming together in Brixham, England from the 1-15 October 2002, as part of the Torbay Festival of Solo Sailing to coincide with the Around Alone 2002-03 stop-over. It is not only the first time that a solo, round the world yacht race has visited the United Kingdom for 34 years since the 1968-69 Sunday Times Golden Globe, but it is also the very first time that these pioneering yachts have been brought together in one place to create a unique ‘floating museum’ of solo sailing history.

The yachts will be berthed on the Brixham Town Quay pontoon throughout the duration of the Around Alone stop-over, adjacent to the new generation fleet of Open class boats competing in Around Alone 2002-03. Visitors will have a one-off opportunity see the very boats from which the modern equivalents evolved, and compare these pioneers with the high-tech carbon racing machines used by today’s circumnavigators.

‘Jester’: the replica of Lt Col “Blondie” Hasler’s 26ft junk-rigged Folkboat, which took part in the first modern singlehanded Transatlantic race in 1960. It was with the original yacht that Hasler developed his pendulum wind vane system for self-steering. Although she was lost at sea during the 1988 solo transatlantic, a replica was built in time for the 1992 race.

‘Lively Lady’: this is the 36ft yawl, built in Calcutta out of teak in 1948, in which Sir Alec Rose completed his 1967-68 two-stop circumnavigation.

‘Suhaili’: the first yacht to complete a singlehanded, non-stop circumnavigation in 1968-69 under the helm of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, thereby winning the Sunday Times Golden Globe yacht race. Named after the south-east wind in the Persian Gulf, 32ft ‘Suhaili’ was built in Bombay of teak and finally launched in 1965. She has just completed a full refit in Pendennis Shipyard Falmouth.

‘British Steel’: the first yacht to complete a solo circumnavigation from east to west (or “the wrong way” as the French say) in 1970-71 under skipper Sir Chay Blyth. At the time, ‘British Steel’ was the epitome of modern yacht designing and the use of steel in yacht construction, the ultimate ‘vehicle’ for the last remaining spectacular ocean challenge.

‘Group 4’: the Challenge 67ft steel yacht, in which British skipper Mike Golding set a new record of 161 days for a westabout circumnavigation in 1993-94. Golding broke Sir Chay Blyth’s record by 125 days, which in turn stood until 2001. What was remarkable about his voyage was that Golding took the yacht, originally built for fully crewed racing, completely unmodified apart from installing an autopilot for solo mode.