Leg 11 / Day 5
Duet has crossed her outward track and thus completed the Voyage to Success. Having anchored off Southend to await the tide, Duet made her way up the Thames in the early hours of Saturday morning. In the tight security of London 2012 they were boarded twice by the authorities before they reached Limehouse Basin on the morning tide.
A reception at the Cruising Association was held in the afternoon with guests from far and wide. Principal guests included the Mayor of Chelmsford, Cllr Christopher Kingsley who has adopted The Cirdan Trust as the Mayor’s charity for the duration of his Mayorship. Also, Paul Anderson OBE who is Champion for Leg 11 and Revd Christopher and Elizabeth Courtauld owners of Duet and supporters of the Voyage to Success 2012.
Cllr. Kingsley spoke of his firm support for the Cirdan Trust and the work that it does with young people and maritime heritage. Paul Anderson congratulated the young people on their achievement and spoke of his strong belief in the power of seafaring to help build self-reliance and teamwork and entertained the audience with stories of his Olympic and Admirals Cup campaigns.
Christopher Courtauld told how Duet has been a member of his family longer than he has since his father, the Arctic Explorer, Augustine Courtauld, bought her in 1931. She became a founding vessel of the Ocean Youth Club in 1960 and has become Britain’s longest serving sail training vessel having been in the service of young people for 52 years.
This was not only the presentation event for the crew of Leg 11 and the Closing Ceremony of the Voyage to Success but also a 100th birthday party for Duet so with a lusty Force 8 Christopher blew out the candles on Duet’s birthday cake and with equal vigour, the assembled company sang Happy Birthday to Duet.
The baton was presented back to David Charlton of the Royal Hospital School whose staff crafted it for the voyage from timbers of the Cutty Sark. It will serve as a school trophy awarded for endeavour in water sports.
The final presentation was to Christopher and Elizabeth Courtauld for their generosity in loaning Duet and supporting her work for young people. Using a Japanese watercolour-based wood block printing method, Gavin Taylor who, as Mate, sailed the greatest distance of circumnavigation, had created a beautiful print of Duet under full sail. This was presented to Christopher with thanks from all involved with the Voyage to Success.
Duet resumes her role as a family boat this week as she meanders her way back to the River Orwell from where she will continue her work on behalf of young people with the Cirdan Trust.