Southern Lion was set to rule the waves with Princess Margaret’s blessing in 1975

The crew of Southern Lion, from left: Geoff Waight, Fred Shergold and David Charles.
The crew of Southern Lion, from left: Geoff Waight, Fred Shergold and David Charles.
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Making everything shipshape and Bristol fashion for a four-year round-the-world trip on the catamaran Southern Lion was no easy task – and three Hampshire men were working all hours to prepare her. 

Dave Charles, 27, from Gosport, Fred Shergold, 27, from Fareham, and Geoff Waight, 24, from Stubbington, had spent three years building the boat in a Warsash garden, but the finishing touches were a race against time. 

For within the coming days, Princess Margaret was to launch the vessel and Southern Lion was due to sail from Gosport on the first leg of a journey to the Mediterranean, then on to Tenerife and the West Indies. 

The three men continued their full-time jobs at the Royal Naval Armament Depot, Gosport, and dedicated every spare minute to the catamaran.

They sold all their goods to finance the trip but the estimated £3,500 needed to build the boat had been badly hit by inflation and their budget had to stretch to £7,500. 

Dave was the spokesman for all three when it came to future ambitions and plans: ‘We hope to come back alive.’