Historic voyage into the past for brave sailor

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It was an historic sea voyage across uncharted waters to unexplored lands filled with peril.

And now a brave sailor from Pontefract is preparing to cast off on the same route taken by Christopher Columbus more than 500 years ago.

Richard Priestley is replicating the Italian adventurer’s third voyage, sailing from Spain to South America - but this time it will be for charity.

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 voyage. Mr Priestley, 35, said: “I’m a great admirer of explorers and Christopher Columbus in particular, so to recreate his voyage means a great deal to me.

“He had the nation behind him and he went out on this voyage with six big ships and manpower. We will just have one small boat and a little crew - but we have GPS SatNavs, which they didn’t.

“It’s quite a dangerous journey because you don’t know what the sea is going to do.”

Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus

The crew will cast off from Spain in 2018 and sail across the Atlantic Ocean to Trinidad and South America before returning to Europe.

They are hoping to raise £20,000 to buy a 35ft boat for the journey.

When they return in spring 2019, the group will sell the boat and donate the cash to the Prince of Wales Hospice and Sea Shepherd UK charities.

Mr Priestley, a former pupil of The King’s School in Pontefract, said: “I really enjoy sailing and I wanted to raise money so I thought why not combine both.

“It’s a different way of fundraising because people actually get to experience it with us, rather than just dropping money in a pot outside a shop.”

A passionate sailor, Mr Priestley has already been on a number of voyages across the world. Since his first trip in 2008, he has sailed to Cuba, the Canary Islands and Brazil.

He also plans to work with youngsters at his former school to map out the journey and explain the history behind the voyage.

To support Mr Priestley’s fundraising journey, visit www.gofundme.com/oceanlifevoyage