Progress stalled on Leg 9 and the news is not good for entering San Diego for leg 10

The battered and bruised crew ofLively Ladyhave had to turn back to seek shelter after wrapping a headsail sheet around the propeller and battling days of strong winds off the Pacific coast of Mexico.

Departing Acapulco on 20 January for Cabo St Lucas, on the ninth leg of the Raymarine Lively Lady Project circumnavigation, the two new crewmembers, Vicky Henton and Luke Spanswick first had a couple of days of seasickness and acclimatisation to contend with. As Skipper Alan Priddy put it on his online journal:
“Both Luke and Vicky are suffering the ‘Curse of Lively lady’ but taking it well.”

Visa application denied
Then administrative headaches rudely intruded, as the Project team was forced to admit that the leg from Cabo St Lucas to San Diego might have to be sailed without any young adults aboard due to visa problems. US authorities refuse to grant visa to 20-year-old playworker from Portsmouth, Jay Williams who was scheduled to crew for a second leg of the voyage, having completing a transatlantic at the start of the Lively Lady project. Expressing his disappointment and frustration, Alan wrote: “All the way through this amazing project we have demonstrated that most people you meet in the world are friendly as long as you treat them the way you expect to be treated. This was true right up until Friday when for what ever reason the American authorities said that Jay was not welcome. Unfortunately, at this late stage, I cannot change the projects itinerary so we are going to have to set sail without any Young Adults on Sunday which is against everything the project is about.”

Finally, the wind picked up on 23 Jan – on the nose – of course: Alan writes: “Not much of a journal because it is all we can do to hold on.”

Twenty-four hours later, Alan filed the following entry:
“At the moment we are bare poled in 45 knots of wind just going up and down in huge seas. I had to go up the mast twice yesterday and took quite a battering against the rigging so I was scheduled to take it easy today, fat chance.
As the wind rose earlier today, we decided to take the mainsail down and run under the working jib. Unfortunately all did not go according to plan and Bernard who was on the helm over cooked it and backed the head sail which made mine and Trent’s job on the mainsail hard work. Then to add to the misery, Luke let both jib sheets fly and one ended up in the water and around the propeller shaft. Oh deep joy. We tried everything we could to release it but in the end the only choice we had was to cut it away and fit another sheet which we did until the wind got up even stronger and we took the jib down.”

The Skipper decides to turn back 30 miles for Bahia Tenacatita after diving several times to free the propeller without success.

His entry for today: “After a gruelling 12 hour sail in light wind we finally arrived in Bahia Tenacotita about midnight. Making into a strange harbour at night is never easy especially under sail but the whole crew pulled together and eventually we drop a 100 meter of anchor chain and we could at last take turns to relax. After the storms of the day before and the dramas of the rope, not to mention the lows of having to go back 40 miles to find a safe harbour even an hours sleep was a welcome release.
At first light this morning, armed with a new steak knife, I dived on the seized propeller shaft to start to cut the rope off. This is easier said than done but after 6 attempts it was off and we could start to make our way to Cabo San Lucas, 350 miles away.”

The Lively Lady Project was conceived as an inspirational challenge that will enrich the lives of a large number of young people – a round the world voyage helping young adults turn their lives around. To keep track of the journey, visit: