1959 Vertue enters the Round Britain & Ireland race
This 1959 Vertue will compete in the Round Britain & Ireland Race this summer against a fleet of state-of-the-art racing boats.
Laurent Giles’ 25ft design is below the minimum length for the race and received a generic entry for the race, hosted by the Royal Western Yacht Club.
Owner Matteo Richiardi will sail double-handed with a mate, inspired by Vertues’ offshore reputation as told in classic books such as Humphrey Barton. Virtue XXXV, David Lewis’ The ship would not travel west, and Peter Woolas Stelda, George and me.
The Round Britain and Ireland Race kicks off on May 29, open to double-handed and short-handed monohulls and multihulls between 27ft (8.23m) and 70ft (21.34m), with start and finish in Plymouth, Devon, with 48-hour calls at Galway on the west coast of Ireland, Lerwick in the Shetland Islands and Blyth on the northeast coast of England.
Mea (which means “beauty and grace” in Chinese) is an Ocean Vertue, built in Hong Kong by Cheoy Lee in teak planks on ipol frames.
Matteo, 50, professor of economics at the University of Essex, said: “Why? Because if not now, when? It’s time to stop dreaming about things I might not do. I want to give meaning to my navigation, test myself a little. I go there because each time I went on a sailing adventure, it enriched me.
He has a crew of four, from which to select one or two mates, as a crew change is allowed at Lerwick.
He estimates the trip could take between 20 days and a month, with the first boats being finished in a week or less: “I created two scenarios: a low-speed scenario, with an average speed of 3 knots, and a high-speed scenario. scenario, with an average speed of 5 knots.
He added: “Let’s not overestimate the whole effort. It’s not the Vendée Globe, it’s not the Golden Globe and it’s not even the other Round Britain & Ireland Race [non-stop, organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club].
“Our race is relatively long, it’s true, and you’re sure to find bad weather, which I don’t like. But you can restock at all three stops, you can even have a hot shower and a cold beer, and maybe a decent sleep if you don’t overdo it with the beer. So I’m not going to make too much of a fuss about it.
“But I want to make one point clear: I can do it, with few means, and a small boat, without sacrificing my life, my job, my family, my other interests. And I would like to do it my way, connecting with the geography of the sea and the land, with the people present and past, with the wood that grew in Asia decades ago and was cut and shaped in the idea of a ship by craftsmen long gone, with the sailors who sailed Mea through time, temporarily handing her over to me. Navigate through history, and through culture, if you wish. Sailing at the edge of time, as John Kretschmer said in what I consider to be one of the best sailing books ever written. Competition is only a pretext, an opportunity. But that said, we won’t be there for sightseeing.
Follow Mea’s progress via Matteo’s blog measailing.wordpress.com