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Around the world to plot a new course

British adventurer Alan Priddy is sailing with young adults to help them find a new direction in life

British adventurer Alan Priddy is sailing with young adults to help them find a new direction in life

When British sailor Alan Priddy was a child he met his role model: single-handed circumnavigator Sir Alec Rose. During that chance encounter Rose told Priddy, “If you think you can, you can.”

Rose’s words inspired Priddy to pursue his own passion for boating. Now Priddy, an accomplished ocean adventurer, is hoping to inspire other young people to follow their dreams, too, through his Lively Lady Project: a 27-stop 28,000-mile circumnavigation aboard Lively Lady, the same 36-footer Rose sailed around the world in 1968. During each leg of the voyage Priddy is joined by a co-skipper and a crew of two young adults who he says haven’t had the best start in life.

“Someone gave me a lucky break as a kid, and I feel it is the right time for me to offer the opportunities that I have had,” Priddy says in an e-mail to Soundings during the second leg, to Nova Scotia.

The adventure kicked off in July from Portsmouth, England. “The project will encourage [the young adults] to look further than they can see, and it will help them deal with their own misgivings in life,” says Priddy, 53, of HaylingIsland, off Havant, England.

More than 1,000 young adults from the United Kingdom and around the world entered for a chance to participate in the Lively Lady Project, Priddy says. Each had to write a 50-word letter explaining what they expected to gain from sailing aboard Lively Lady and how they thought it would change their lives. Of those, more than 50 young adults were chosen. Before getting under way, each completed a sail-training program and studied the cultures of the countries they were to visit, as well as nutrition, budgeting, provisioning and teamwork.

From Portsmouth, Priddy and crew sailed Lively Lady through a storm with gusts of 45 knots, reaching St. John’s, Newfoundland, Aug. 19. Jay Williams, one of the young adults on board for the leg, recalls his experience in a posting on the project Web site ( ). “By taking part in this voyage I have gained more confidence in myself and my ability to cope with trying situations,” writes 21-year-old Williams. “From my time in St. John’s and Conception Bay South I got to see that people are not so bad and that there are still some pretty friendly places left in the world. I have also gained friends in all the people I met out there.”

Built in Calcutta, India, in 1948, Lively Lady is an F. Shepherd design that Priddy says he acquired from the Portsmouth Museums & Records Service. The boat was originally designed as a cutter, but Rose changed the sail plan and added a mizzenmast. Before setting sail, Lively Lady received a “full overhaul,” Priddy says, and was outfitted with Raymarine electronics, including a VHF, autopilot, and wind, speed and depth instruments. Raymarine is sponsor of the Lively Lady Project.

Priddy and two new crewmembers sailed Lively Lady from St. John’s and arrived at North Cove Marina in New York Nov. 6. From there, they were to make stops in Wilmington, N.C., and Miami before heading to Kingston, Jamaica. Lively Lady then is scheduled to make four stops as she sails the Caribbean and through the Panama Canal to San Diego, then to Honolulu. Other stops include Sydney, Australia; Singapore; Port Said, Egypt; and Gibraltar. The project is expected wrap up back in Portsmouth in July 2007.

“All I want to accomplish from this project is knowing that in some small way I have made a difference to a group of kids,” Priddy says.