Page last updated at 12:50 GMT, Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Iceberg threat to Oz-bound crew


See life on board the Spirit of Mystery

West Country sailor Pete Goss has started the toughest part his journey from the UK to Australia in a wooden fishing boat.

He and his crew of three set off from Simonstown in South Africa on Tuesday morning in the Cornish lugger, the Spirit of Mystery.

The 6,000-mile journey across the Southern Ocean could present icebergs, hurricanes and huge waves.

They are recreating a trip by a group of Cornishmen 150 years ago.

Mr Goss and his son, Eliot; brother Andy and brother-in-law Mark Maidment set off from Newlyn in Cornwall on 20 October and reached Cape Town in South Africa just before Christmas.

'Waves like hills'

Their vessel is relying on sail and navigating by the stars, like the original sailors did.

Mr Goss believes the final leg of the journey from South Africa will take them about 50 days, bringing them into Melbourne about the first week of March.

But between them are icebergs drifting up from Antarctica and the huge waves of the Southern Ocean, the so-called 'Grey Beards'.

Spirit of Mystery (Pic:
The crew aims to be in Australia by the first week of March

Mr Goss told BBC News: "This is the big daddy.

"But we had a few good blows before we got into Cape Town.

"We had these large waves like hills, but she took them very well.

"Although I've never sailed a boat like this before, I am really pleased with her. She's a Cornish bulldog."

He said the crew hoped to avoid icebergs.

"There is a lot of ice in the Southern Ocean," said Mr Goss.

"But we should be above it."

The crew had all been working hard to get the boat prepared for the leg to Australia.

"It was going to be the making or breaking of the family, but we get on really well and it's a really happy little ship," he said.

The trip has been raising money for the charity Mr Goss is patron of, Cornwall Playing for Success, which provides out-of-hours activities for children.

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