Tuesday, April 5, 2011
The current owners of the classic yacht Saunterer, which belonged to doomed Antarctic expedition team member Captain Lawrence Oates, welcomed the Royal Navy aboard at a special ceremony in Dartmouth on Friday.
Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, the First Sea Lord, was in town to launch the British Services Antarctica Expedition. The project celebrates the 100th anniversary of the historic attempt on the South Pole by Captain Scott and his colleagues and hopes to raise £10,000 for the Help for Heroes charity.
Chloe and Guy Savage bought the 60ft Saunterer in 2009 and have lived aboard during her extensive restoration. The yacht has been adopted at the expedition's mascot due to her connection with Captain Oates. She will be used to help develop team member's sailing skills and host associated events.
Admiral Stanhope said, 'They have done a massive amount of work to restore Saunterer to its original condition and the result is magnificent.'
The First Sea Lord travelled to the town on Friday to launch the British Services Antarctica Expedition which will celebrate the 100th anniversary of Captain Robert Scott's heroic efforts to reach the South Pole.
Members of the Royal Dragoon Guards piped Admiral Stanhope onto Saunterer at Britannia Royal Naval College's maintenance yard Sandquay, where she is moored.
The yacht is the inter-forces expedition's mascot as it was originally owned by Captain Lawrence Oates, a member of Scott's exploration team, who famously said the words "I am just going outside and may be some time."
Guy and Chloe, who live on Saunterer, bought the 60foot wooden yacht in 2009 and have lovingly restored her to her former glory .
The couple will be supporting the services expedition, planned for January 2012, by developing the sailing skills of the exploration team as well as hosting sailing trips and corporate events for the expedition sponsors at various sailing festivals and regattas around the South West including Dartmouth, Brixham and Salcombe.
Admiral Stanhope said: "Saunterer is a fantastic historical connection to Captain Oates.
"Her restoration by Guy and Chloe has been a labour of love in every respect.
"They have done a massive amount of work to restore Saunterer to its original condition and the result is magnificent."
The launch was also attended by Captain Oates's great niece and nephew, Muriel Finnis and David Wilson.
The pair had only recently learned about the existence of Saunterer and said they were 'blown away' to lay eyes on the 'beautiful yacht' once owned by their famous relative.
Mrs Finnis said: "It's super to see it and it's absolutely amazing it is supporting this expedition.
"Guy and Chloe's restoration work is fantastic, especially as they lived on the boat as a wreck with water pouring through the decks."
Mr Wilson said: "I read bits and pieces in history books about the yacht but I hadn't realised it still existed.
"I was quite delighted to find out it did, she is beautiful and I can see she has been restored with love as well as hard work."
Saunterer was built in 1900 by Charles Sibbick of Cowes and Captain Oates became her owner in 1905 until his death in 1912.
Later on, the yacht became a charter vessel in Scotland and after the death of its owner, lay neglected in a yard on the River Clyde near Glasgow until she was bought by Guy and Chloe.
Guy described the expedition launch and Admiral Stanhope's visit as a 'great day' and said he was proud to be a part of the Antarctic adventure.
He said: "I loved Saunterer as soon as I saw her and she became even more special when I found out her links to Captain Oates.
"It has been hard work restoring her but worth it and being invited to play a role in the expedition is the icing on the cake for us."
Chloe said: "It was a privilege to welcome the First Sea Lord on board Saunterer and to meet some of the expedition team and the relatives of Captain Oates.
"We are very excited about supporting the expedition and are really looking forward to a busy season ahead."
Expedition leader Paul Hart said the incredible story of Captain Scott and his team is the inspiration behind the British Services Antarctica Expedition 2012.
"Unlike other expeditions seeking to follow in Scott's footsteps, we will travel in the spirit of Scott but not in his tracks.
"Instead, and very much in the ethos of the 1910 to 1913 expedition, our aim will be to conduct the scientific exploration in the Peninsula Arm of Antartica, an area which is warming faster than anywhere else on the planet."
The expedition also aims to raise £10,000 for Help for Heroes charity.
For more information about Saunterer and the festivals it is attending this year visit firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information about the 2012 expedition visit www.bsae2012.co.uk
Posted by Voyage Adviser at 6:37 PM