Welcome to the Wind Rose, the exclusive interview series created for the SeaKnots community. By taking a 360-degree approach, Wind Rose interviews consist of eight questions, each coming from a different wind direction.

We are proud to launch this interview series with accomplished British sailor Pete Goss, who is about to set out on an epic sailing voyage that will surely inspire most of us here on SeaKnots.

Pete has built a wooden lugger and will soon follow in the wake of seven Cornishmen who made a heroic journey to Australia 154 years ago. Proud of his West country roots and an enthusiastic wood-worker, the project is something Pete has wanted to do since he heard about the inspirational voyage of the Mystery. This current project is only the latest of his numerous seafaring adventures, having previously competed in six transatlantic and two round-the-World races.

The most recognized of these was the 1996/7 Vendee Globe non-stop single-handed round the world yacht race in his Open 50 yacht 'Aqua Quorum'. It was this race which turned Pete into a national hero for the dramatic rescue of fellow competitor Raphael Dinelli in hurricane-force winds. Pete was awarded the MBE by HM The Queen and the Legion d'Honneur by the French President.

Pete’s other sailing exploits include training and leading a previously inexperienced crew of ten through what is generally held to be the toughest yacht race in the World – the British Steel Challenge (now known as the Global Challenge). The route goes the ‘wrong way’ around the World, against the prevailing winds and currents. Pete proudly led the team aboard Hofbrau into third place.

In 1988 he defied convention by finishing second in the Carlsberg Single handed Transatlantic Race, sailing ‘Cornish Meadow’, a tiny catamaran just 26 feet in length. This was Pete’s first project, but proved that small, lightweight multi-hulls can be viable giant-killing race boats.

More recently Pete gathered together the team and sponsors that enabled the construction of the World-famous giant catamaran 'Team Philips' – this was a five year project that ended with the sad loss of the boat, but thankfully not the crew, in a freak mid-Atlantic storm in December 2000.

Pete is the author of the best-selling book about his yachting adventures – ‘Close to the Wind’. He lives in Cornwall and is married to Tracey, with whom he has three children.

N - Having built The Spirit of Mystery with your own hands, you must be very familiar with all of its features. What surprised you the most of all the things you learned along the way?

Chris Rees was the builder and I had the privilege of helping here and there – I am left with all sorts of impressions but the simple functionality of it all was lovely. She is very strong, safe and reliable thanks to years and years of evolution.

NE - According to the log of the Mystery, the original voyage took 116 days. Does the competitive sailor in you aim to improve that time?

Not in the least – this is not a race and I am going to make the most of it in that I can enjoy all those things that competition precludes; good food, a library, fishing and the time to look around and enjoy the little things in life.

E - Sensible Small Boat Cruising is one of our most popular groups on SeaKnots and your plans of sailing in a small boat without using an engine or modern electrical and navigational systems immediately begs the question: what are the modern essentials you do plan on taking with you?

We want to celebrate the spirit of the original voyage and shine a spotlight on their achievement. The boat is as close as we will ever get to the original one. We will follow the same passage and navigate by the stars but I am not eating salt pork and I am going to be wearing my Musto HPX. We have had to put an engine in the boat but this will not be used during the voyage to Melbourne. Of course there will be a hand held GPS in the grab bag and one of the concessions is a solar panel to run a satcom to update the website as we have a huge educational programme behind all this.

SE - How did you discover your love of sailing? Do you remember the exact moment?

I have no recollection of learning to sail. My father sailed, my Grandfather sailed and my Great Grandfather was a ship builder so we just learned to walk talk and sail from birth.

S - A lot of our members often dream about finding a way to make a living while sailing full time and you have been able to turn your passion into a career. What was it like to make that decision?

It was the only option I had as we didn’t have two pennies to rub together. Modern communications have been the big jump that has enabled it to be a reality.

SW - If you had to summarize your book "Close to the wind" into one brief sailing quote, what would that be?


W - One of your previous projects, Team Phillips, captured the imagination of many sailors around the world who shared in your sadness after her loss at sea. Should we expect to see that project come to life again some day? What's in your future after The Spirit of Mystery?

Who knows - she was way ahead of her time and the concept was right on the button. I have no idea what I will be doing after ‘Spirit of Mystery’. As ever I have lots of ideas and will use this next break at sea to mull them over. The South Poles are looking good though.

NW - We like to share our favorite destinations on SeaKnots and you've obviously sailed all over the world. If you had to pick your favorite anchorage to wake up tomorrow morning, where would that be?

The Scilly Islands


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Comment by Alain Brauckmann on September 24, 2008 at 2:42am
Good luck! Keep us updated
Comment by Spirit on September 23, 2008 at 7:42am
Wow! I wouldn't eat salt pork either... ha ha... Loved the interview. Thanks for posting!
Comment by ratherbesailing on September 22, 2008 at 7:23am
Good luck! We'll follow your progress when you depart!

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