Iconic yacht Lively Lady in a sorry state as storm grows over failed restoration

Bosses at a boatbuilding college have been accused of failing to live up to a deal to restore an iconic vessel that sailed the globe twice.

Thursday, 25th May 2017, 7:41 am
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 9:35 pm
Lively Lady inside the International Boatbuilding Training College

Lively Lady appears to be in a sorry state at Portsmouth International Boatbuilding Training College following what is claimed to be a botched refurbishment project.

The 36ft yacht arrived at the centre in November 2015, where it had been hoped she would be restored to her former glory ahead of the 50th anniversary of her first round-the-world trip next year.

But 18 months on and all that remains is a wooden hulk, with her deck ripped up and rubbish scattered inside her leaking cabin.

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Alan Priddy and crew on Lively Lady in 2011

Now, no longer able to leave under her own power, Lively Lady faces an uncertain future.

The situation has infuriated Alan Priddy, who sailed Lively Lady round the world between 2006 and 2008 and is once again at her helm.

A spokesman for the ocean racing legend said: ‘Worryingly, Lively Lady has been allowed to significantly deteriorate.

‘How on earth was this allowed to happen by a charity that claims to care about our maritime history?’

Alan Priddy and crew on Lively Lady in 2011

The college, in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard’s Boathouse No 4, teaches students traditional maritime skills.

The IBTC said 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 – something Mr Priddy’s team contests.

IBTC trustee Hereward Drummond claimed that after the deck had been removed, Mr Priddy asked the college to take on further improvements to the cabin.

He said that as the boat was leased by Portsmouth City Council to Mr Priddy’s charity, Around and Around, the council needed to grant permission for further work, adding that a shipwright hired by Mr Priddy had been overseeing the attempt.

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

The project was eventually scrapped by the project manager from Mr Priddy’s team, Mr Drummond claimed.

Around and Around is now hunting for a new team to take on the restoration work.

Alistair Thompson, spokesman for the charity, was furious. He claimed about £12,000 had been raised for the project and said he wanted to know how this money had been used.

He said: ‘What has happened is just disgraceful.

‘The real losers here are the young people of Portsmouth.’

Mr Drummond said Mr Priddy had signed a contract to ‘rent out space’ for Lively Lady, adding that Around and Around was ‘responsible’ for supplying its own materials, scaffolding and paying for a project manager.

He added: ‘It is with sadness that we say farewell to Lively Lady as she is a well-known vessel of historic importance and she was an eye-catching attraction for visitors.’

Lively Lady is now expected to be transported to Mr Priddy’s base on Hayling Island.


Two other iconic racing yachts have fallen foul of refurbishment jobs at Portsmouth’s International Boatbuilding Training College, it has been claimed.

Dolly Varden, which was launched in 1872, and Fandango were both sent to the college to be refurbished.

But the renowned vessels have both been forced to leave the site over claims work to restore them was axed.

Grahame Knott, who is in charge of maintaining Dolly Varden, said he was upset.

He explained he agreed to a refit project – estimated to cost £60,000 and take between five and six years to finish – in January 2016.

But, on a visit to the college earlier this year he was told all work was to stop and that there was no more space to store the boat.

Mr Knott, who is based in Weymouth and has had to pay to have the boat transported back to his HQ, claimed very little work had been done in the year Dolly Varden had been in Portsmouth.

He said: ‘It’s an utter fiasco. I just can’t believe it.

Mt Knott claims he was told the IBTC was stopping work.

‘It was only by chance, when I made a visit to Portsmouth, that I was told.

‘I was absolutely furious. It’s like (the college) thinks it has done nothing wrong.’

Dolly Varden was removed in February. The revelation comes amid a row over the future of Lively Lady, which had also been taken to the site for refurbishment works.

David Evans is the leisure and sports facility manager at Portsmouth City Council.

He said the authority was concerned by the situation and that it would seek to do what it could to help.

Mr Evans added: ‘There seems to have been some sort of misunderstanding along the lines that’s been unfortunate.’

The News approached the IBTC for comment, but nobody was available before we went to press.


Lively Lady was built in Calcutta in 1949.

Since then she has made waves for herself in the maritime world, having circumnavigated the globe twice.

Her journey began when she was sold to Alec Rose by ex-owner, S.J.P Cambridge.

Back then, Alec was a Southsea greengrocer with a dream of sailing around the world. And a few years later Alec turned that dream into a reality, setting off alone on the 28,000-mile journey.

On July 4, 1968, following some brief stops in Melbourne and New Zealand, he sailed her back into Portsmouth to a hero’s welcome.

About 250,000 people crowded along the Southsea coastline to cheer Alec and Lively Lady home.

Not long after returning, Alec was knighted by the Queen.

He died in 1991, but Lively Lady’s adventure continued. From 2006 to 2008, sailor and adventurer Alan Priddy managed to take the 36ft yacht round the globe again. Unlike Sir Alec, Alan didn’t work alone. His crew consisted of disadvantaged youngsters from the Portsmouth area.

Mr Priddy’s charity Around and Around, which teaches young people life skills through sailing, now looks after Lively Lady.

She’s housed in Boathouse No 4 of Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, but Mr Priddy hopes to move her to Hayling Island. It is here work will be tackled to restore her and get her back to sea once more.