We feel sure Sir Alec Rose would be extremely proud of Lauren Harris.
At just 22, she has passed an exam that means she can skipper Lively Lady, the iconic yacht in which Southsea greengrocer Sir Alec became the first single-handed sailor to circumnavigate the globe back in 1968.
Lauren works for the Portsmouth-based sailing charity Around and Around and is a graduate of the Raymarine Lively Lady Project, which gave local youngsters the chance to sail in stages around the world in 2008.
Now Lauren could be at the helm as Lively Lady is prepared to set sail again with a new crew of disadvantaged youngsters.
As charity founder and mentor Alan Priddy says, it’s a fantastic achievement.
Alan is a veteran sailor but he admits it took him three goes to pass his Yachtmaster exam. Lauren did it first time.
He enthuses: ‘She will go the top and is living proof that training on the job is more important than university.’
What a great example Lauren is to other youngsters. Lively Lady is clearly a big part of her life and she and others from the charity spend weekends showing people around the boat at Port Solent.
A campaign to make Lively Lady seaworthy again has so far raised £10,000 and a refit is planned for next year.
But more cash is needed and Lauren is the perfect ambassador in that she is an example of what this great project can do for young people.
Three years ago, 38 of them were given a chance to turn their lives around, culminating with the opportunity to sail Lively Lady around the world.
Now others stand to earn places on the voyage of a lifetime. But it’s not just about going to sea. In helping to raise funds and being involved in the project, they learn a set of skills that will certainly stand them in good stead.
We wish Around and Around every success and look forward to reporting how Lauren has skippered Lively Lady on another memorable, life-changing voyage for those lucky enough to be on board.