COMMENT: College bosses have questions to answer over Lively Lady

The statistics that mask continuing real hardship

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How could a yacht that is an important part of sailing history have been allowed to deteriorate to such an extent that all that remains is a wooden hulk?

This is the question many people will be asking today as they read our report revealing the sorry state of Lively Lady, the yacht that carried Southsea greengrocer Alec Rose on an epic solo round-the-world voyage in 1968.

Bosses at Portsmouth International Boat Training College, based in the Historic Dockyard’s Boathouse No 4, have been accused of failing to live up to a deal to restore her.

The idea was to bring her back to her former glory in time for the 50th anniversary of her incredible journey.

But 18 months after she arrived in Boathouse No 4, the 36ft yacht is far from seaworthy.

So why has no renovation work been carried out?

Ocean racer Alan Priddy, who sailed Lively Lady around the world between 2006 and 2008 with a crew of disadvantaged youngsters from the Portsmouth area as part of his charity Around and Around, is clearly shocked at the state of affairs.

The IBTC says it only agreed to restore Lively Lady’s deck and that demands from Mr Priddy to carry out further work on the boat’s interior had delayed the project.

Meanwhile Mr Priddy’s team said the work had always been about restoring the whole boat and not just the deck.

Whatever the truth, the reality is that Lively Lady is a sad sight. We really hope the work can still be completed elsewhere in time for next year’s big anniversary.

As for the IBTC management, we believe they still need to do some more explaining about what has happened in the case of Lively Lady and two other yachts sent to the college to be refurbished.