COMMENT: More should be made of sailing heroSir Alec Rose

It may be an unassuming fried chicken restaurant now, but 38 Osborne Road was the spot where one of the UK’s greatest sporting achievements was plotted.

Tuesday, 19th March 2019, 3:57 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th March 2019, 4:58 pm

Back in the 1960s Alec and Dorothy Rose ran a humble greengrocers serving the people of Southsea.

But once the shutters went down, Sir Alec spent every spare minute planning his record-breaking solo circumnavigation around the world in his yacht Lively Lady.

The feat was completed by cool-headed Sir Alec between 1967 and 1968 and was celebrated across the globe.

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Now, 51 years on, Sir Alec’s incredible feat is being recognised in his home city with a blue plaque on the premises he used to own.

Some would argue it is long-overdue, particularly fellow record-breaking sailor Alan Priddy, who says Sir Alec has always been a role model to him.

He actually sailed Lively Lady round the world himself between 2006 and 2008 and spearheaded its restoration and the plans for a blue plaque.

Sir Alec has been an inspiration to generations of young sailors and the city is privileged that he is one of our famous sons.

So why hasn’t more been made of this amazing man within the city? Is his story taught in city schools? If not, it should be.

To echo the words of Portsmouth City Council leader, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, he was just an ordinary man, who set out to, and achieved, something truly extraordinary.

And it took place long before the days of satellite navigation systems and other hi-tech sailing equipment.

He had no idea what he would encounter and the world rejoiced with him when he finally set foot on dry land – with a reception of 250,000 people waiting to greet him. Afterwards he went back to simply being a greengrocer. A true role model and so deserving of his blue plaque.