Pete Goss talks to Sue Pelling about his return to yachting and his new speed machine 30/3/06

British yachtsman Pete Goss is back. Goss who has been in sailing ‘hibernation’ since the failure of Team Philips – the high profile 120ft catamaran that broke up during training for The Race back in 2000 – will today at a press conference at the Royal Western Yacht Club in Plymouth, announce his comeback.

Forty-four-year-old Goss and one of his Team Philips speed sailing team members, Paul Larsen, have joined forces once again and plan to compete in the 2006 Shetland Round Britain and Ireland Yacht Race aboard a 30ft carbonfibre trimaran.

The Seacart 30, a Marc Lombard-designed production boat is, according to Goss, built to the highest standard in an autoclave and is extremely light, weighing in at just 950kg all up. And a whacking 50ft mast carrying 140sq m of sail including a 70sq m spinnaker, should keep the boys on their toes throughout the gruelling race.

This relatively new design built by Marström Composites in Sweden will be one of the smallest boats competing in the race but Goss believes that its incredible performance should stand it in good stead for a reasonable result. Chatting to about this interesting choice of boat and why he’s decided to make a comeback Goss said: “Because I’ve competed in this race before and absolutely loved it I was keen to give it another go. And the opportunity to sail this fantastically fun boat with my ‘old’ team mate was a great inspiration.”

Not surprisingly, and in typical Goss style, this new boat is bit of a giant killer but he knows that, as a team, they will have great deal of fun exploiting the boat’s performance. Goss continued: “It will be a handful to sail because, of course, we intend to really go for it. We see ourselves pushing it 24-hours a day which mean during the off-watch periods we’ll be sleeping on the out-riggers!”

Despite its reputation as a wild racing machine Goss was keen to point out that the Seacart 30 can be sailed equally as well as a family fun boat, adding “It’s a fantastically stable boat making it an ideal choice as both a family fun-boat and for serious racing enthusiasts on a budget. Also it can be totally de-rigged and on the trailer ready to go within two hours.”

Like most of his adventures Goss is using the race to promote his chosen charity – Cornwall Playing for Success – of which he is a founder and trustee. Playing for Success is a national out-of-school-hours education initiative, aimed at raising literacy, numeracy and IT skills in children who have unrealised potential. Goss explained: “Although the reasons I’m doing this race is because it’s a fantastic event and I’m keen to promote this new design, my third reason is to raise awareness of a charity that’s close to my heart. On a ten week out-of-school-hours programme, pupils improve their literacy and numeracy scores by 17 and 24 months in primary and secondary schools respectively. However, the real ‘fairy dust’ is self-esteem, which is carried back to school with long-term results.”

When questioned about his immediate sailing plans in preparation for the pending race Goss, in his typical modest style concluded: “Well, I’m off to the North Pole with a couple of adventure groups on Monday and won’t be back until the beginning of May. Then during May we’ll do the qualifying races and be on the Shetland Round Britain and Ireland startline on 11 June.”