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Fundraising drive to buy boat for sailors to follow in Columbus’s wake



By Sam Brooksbank

A MAN FROM Yorkshire plans to recreate a famous voyage of Christopher Columbus… despite not having a boat.

Richard Priestley from Pontefract hopes in two years’ time to replicate the third voyage of famous explorer Columbus when he sailed from Spain to South America more than 500 years ago.

In late 2018, Richard and his crew will set off from Southern Spain, taking in the Canary Islands and Cape Verde, then crossing the Atlantic Ocean to Trinidad, Margarita, South America and the Dominican Republic before sailing back to Spain in the spring of 2019.

Richard said: “It’s an ambitious project that I have decided to take on. I love sailing and have always admired the great explorers, Columbus in particular.”

Richard is a passionate sailor with years of experience, sailing over 6,000 nautical miles to places such as Cuba, Brazil and Greece.

Richard won’t be doing this alone – he already has his co-captain Phil Donor, and they are trying to recruit five more crew members at the moment.

Amazingly, the one thing that group doesn’t have is a boat.  Richard and Phil are putting on live local music events and the performers are giving up their time for free to help raise the £20,000 required to buy a 35-foot long boat.

After the boat and all the supplies have been purchased, the rest of the money will go to charity, as they raise funds for Sea Shepherd UK and Pontefract’s Prince of Wales Hospice.

Sea Shepherd UK is a registered marine conservation charity whose mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife around the UK’s coastline. The sale of the boat once of the journey is complete will also go to charity.

Richard said: “Plans for the voyage are really taking shape now. I’ve had tremendous support from the local people and businesses in the area.”

The ambitious voyage has been backed by Wakefield District Coun Celia Loughran. She said: “This is an inspiring project about exploration and adventure. At its heart, it gives out a message about the challenge of risk taking as the excitement that such a journey will bring in its own right.”

A further fundraising event has been planned for December in Sheffield, with all proceeds going to buy the supplies required for the journey.

If you would like to find out more about the epic voyage or would be interesting in sponsoring the crew, visit

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