Yorkshire sailor to replicate historic voyage of Christopher Columbus

A brave sailor is organising a series of live music fundraisers as he prepares to cast off on the same perilous route taken by Christopher Columbus more than 500 years ago.

Richard Priestley
Richard Priestley

Richard Priestley is hoping to replicate the Italian explorer’s third voyage, sailing from Spain to South America.

But before the 35-year-old, from Pontefract, can set sail with his crew, he needs to raise around £20,000 towards a 35ft boat for the 2018 voyage.

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And when they return in spring 2019, the crew will sell the boat and donate the cash to Pontefract’s Prince of Wales Hospice and Sea Shepherd UK charities.

The first fundraising event will be held on Wednesday, October 12, at the Tap and Barrel pub in Pontefract.

It will feature a host of singers from across the North who are donating their time to perform free at the event.

Mr Priestley said: “Plans for the voyage are really taking shape now. I’ve had some tremendous help from local people and businesses in the area.

“I would love everyone to come down show their support for the voyage.

“The acts are all performing for free with all proceeds raised going directly to the voyage. It will be an absolutely amazing night.”

Joined by his German co-captain Philip Donor, Mr Priestley and their crew will use an on-board satellite to blog about their experiences throughout the Survival Voyage.

The crew will cast off from Spain in 2018 and sail across the Atlantic Ocean to Trinidad and South America before returning to Europe. A passionate sailor, Mr Priestley has already been on a number of voyages across the world.

He also plans to work with youngsters at his former school - The King’s School in Pontefract - to map out the journey and explain the history behind the voyage.

The ambitious voyage has been backed by Wakefield district councillor Celia Loughran (Lab, Pontefract South).

She said: “This is an inspiring project about exploration and adventure.

“At its heart it gives out a message about challenge and risk taking as well as the excitement that such a journey will bring in its own right.”

The fundraising event next week takes place from 7pm at the Front Street pub in Pontefract, and entry costs £10 on the door.

A further event is being organised for December 21, with acts yet to be confirmed. Musicians performing at next week’s show include solo acoustic act Gabriel Wenner, Sheffield band Firegarden and Bulsara - a Freddie Mercury tribute act.

And people and businesses can now sponsor Mr Priestley’s voyage, and have the chance of joining the crew on the boat for parts of the journey.

For more information visit www.survivalvoyage.co.uk or contact 07751244005.

Columbus’s third voyage

Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer, born in Genoa. He went on a series of voyages commissioned by Spain in the 15th century to explore the then-unmapped territories of the Americas and the Caribbean. On his third voyage, he set of in 1498 from the port of Sanlucar in Spain with six ships and headed to the Canary Islands after stopping on the Portuguese island of Madeira. Then the crews sailed to Cape Verde and across the Atlantic Ocean to Trinidad and South America. After Trinidad, he explored the coast of Venezuela and Hispaniola.