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28 October 2014

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You are in: Cornwall > People > People Features > Spirit of Mystery

Pete Goss building the 'Spirit of Mystery'

Spirit of Mystery

Sailor and adventurer Pete Goss has launched his 'Spirit of Mystery', a replica Cornish lugger that will take him on an historic voyage half way around the world. The yachtsman has designed and built the boat himself in south east Cornwall.

The 'Spirit of Mystery' will follow the route of the 37-foot Mounts Bay lugger 'Mystery' which in 1854 carried seven Cornishmen from a life of poverty in Newlyn to Melbourne in Australia. 

The project is something Pete has wanted to do since he heard about the inspirational voyage of the original 'Mystery'.

Hear BBC Cornwall's James Churchfield in conversation with Pete Goss:

The 37 ft 'Mystery' was an open Mounts Bay Lugger built in Newlyn.

Pete Goss

Times were hard and the seven Cornishmen, all related by either blood or marriage and share holders in the 'Mystery', made the decision to try their luck at the Australian gold rush, over a pint in the Star Inn, Newlyn.

It was suggested that the 'Mystery' be sold to cover the passage. Captain Richard Nicholls, with a couple under his belt and in good spirits, said: "I'll take you in the Mystery," and so an amazing adventure was born.

Leaving Newlyn on Saturday 18 November 1854, the 'Mystery' travelled about 11,800 nautical miles in 116 days before arriving in Melbourne on 14 March 1855. The only break in the voyage was a week in Cape Town for repairs and rest.

Now, 153 years later, Pete Goss has built 'Spirit of Mystery' in Innsworke Mill boat yard at Millbrook in south east Cornwall to celebrate the amazing achievement.

The Spirit of Mystery

Pete Goss' boat will sail to Australia

The original 'Mystery' crew were all related. The members of 'Spirit of Mystery' are also family members.

"My youngest son Eliot has enjoyed the project so far, having been involved in every aspect of it from dragging out Oak to lofting her out in the Village Hall," says Pete.

"My youngest brother Andy and my brother in law Mark are also on the team." 

The new vessel is as true to the original 'Mystery' as possible and, although there are concessions to safety, they will not use an engine and there are no modern electrical and navigational systems.

The Spirit of Mystery

The Spirit of Mystery

The keel, stem and stern were made from a tough hardwood called Ekki. Fallen Cornish Oak makes up the frames, with Larch for the planking and Ash for the tiller and sweeps.

"I have always wanted to build a wooden boat and relish the challenge and adventure of sailing such a small vessel to Australia," says Pete Goss.

"Here we are on the brink of another exciting adventure that has the added element of history, which I find I am really enjoying. Life is for living and this, for me, is life at its best."

The boat and crew will set sail for Australia in mid-October.

last updated: 23/06/2008 at 14:36
created: 20/06/2008

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