Alan Priddy

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Alan Priddy
Born (1953-04-07) 7 April 1953 (age 70)
Portsmouth, Hampshire, England
Known forNautical record setter, fundraiser

Alan Priddy (born 7 April 1953) is a British power boat sailor and adventurer who has set several boating world records.[1] Priddy attempted to circumnavigate the world in a rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RIB) in 2002, and in 2008 successfully completed a circumnavigation by yacht. He has also navigated a RIB around Scotland, Ireland, Britain and across the Bay of Biscay. He set a world RIB record in 2003 for crossing the Atlantic in 103 hours.

As of 2012, Priddy had recorded 37 world records,[2] and 12 British national records.[3] Boats he has sailed and raced include Fireballs, Finns, Shearwater catamarans, Enterprises, Wayfarers, Toppers and yachts.[4]

Early life[edit]

Priddy was born on a council estate in Portsmouth. He started sailing at eight years old and owned a motorised dinghy at the age of eleven.[4]


1990 to 1996[edit]

Alan Priddy took part in several record-breaking journeys around Scotland (1990), Britain (1992), Ireland (1993) and in the Bay of Biscay (1996).[4]

Atlantic Challenge 1997[edit]

white, black and yellow rigid inflatable boat passing the photographer at high speed, with yellow-coated pilot at the controls
Alan Priddy on Spirit of Portsmouth, 1997

On Sunday 22 June 1997, Alan Priddy, Vic Palmer, Jan Falkowski and Steve Lloyd set out to cross the Atlantic in Spirit of Portsmouth—a four-year-old 7.4 m (24 ft) Ribtec rigid inflatable with a single 165 hp Yamaha inboard diesel engine. The journey took them from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA to Portsmouth, Hampshire, UK, stopping on the way in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Greenland, Iceland and Northern Ireland. The average leg was more than 500 nautical miles with the longest one planned to be nearly 700 nautical miles and scheduled to take 35 hours non-stop. However, the trip from Iceland to Weymouth took 100 hours with stops for fuel in Barra and Bangor.[4]

London-Monaco 1998[edit]

In 1998, Priddy and a crew travelled in the RIB Spirit of Portsmouth from London to Monaco. The 2,100-mile route went down the Thames Estuary, along the length of the Channel to Guernsey, across the Bay of Biscay to Spain, into the Mediterranean and past Gibraltar to Monaco. The team was backed up by two road crews. They completed the voyage in 99 hours 19 minutes 15seconds.[5] The Royal Yachting Association did not ratify the record as they had not been invited to start the race.[citation needed]

Britain 2000[edit]

In June 2000, Priddy and his crew circumnavigated the British Isles in five days, six hours and five minutes.[6] This was a trial-run of the RIB Spirit of Cardiff in preparation for a planned circumnavigation of the world.

Around the world 2002[edit]

Priddy, Clive Tully, Alan Carter and Steve Lloyd attempted to circumnavigate the world in the custom-built RIB Spirit of Cardiff which was specifically designed for endurance. The route encompassed 21 countries and nearly 25,000 miles and was scheduled for 75 days. At that time, Spirit of Cardiff was one of the largest RIBs in the world with an overall length of 10 metres (33 feet). This large size allowed a fully enclosed cabin on board to provide the team with shelter.

They left Cardiff on 31 March 2002.[7] The voyage ran into difficulties[8] and was prematurely concluded[9] when Lloyd suffered heart problems 350 miles from Newfoundland and required a helicopter airlift to Canada.[10]

In September 2002, Priddy planned to return Spirit of Cardiff across the Atlantic.[11] However, the boat's engine compartment had become flooded and the bilge pumps were ineffective.[12] Priddy abandoned the boat in Canada.

Soltron Atlantic Challenge[edit]

In 2003, Priddy attempted to cross from St. John's, Newfoundland to Cape Wrath in Scotland in less than 100 hours. The Spirit of was refurbished and became The Jolly Sailor. At 1342 local, 1512 GMT on 27 July 2003 Priddy, Jan Falkowski, Clive Tully and Canadian Egbert Walters embarked. With a brief fuel stop in Nanortalik harbour (Greenland) after being battered by 50 knot winds, they headed across the Denmark Strait towards Iceland onto a further fuel stop at the island of Heimaey, past Cape Wrath (Scotland) on to Bangor (Northern Ireland). Priddy beat his previous time but did not set a world record, but it was the fastest transatlantic crossing by a RIB. After an overnight stop, they continued down the Irish Sea and returned to Portsmouth on 9 September.[13]

In 2004, Priddy attempted to return the Jolly Sailor to Newfoundland (Canada) to be used by charitable organisations but the boat was hit by a large wave and sank. The crew was rescued.[14][15]

Lively Lady Project[edit]

blue-hulled two-masted yacht with mainsail partly set passing a rocky shoreline with buildings beyond
Lively Lady leaving Portsmouth in 2006

From 2006 to 2008, Priddy circumnavigated the world aboard Sir Alec Rose's yacht Lively Lady. The 36-foot, 60-year-old, sailing vessel was crewed by a group of 38 disadvantaged young adults. The voyage began in Portsmouth and finished there on 5 July 2008.[16]

Priddy continued the project as the charity "Around and Around" with graduates serving as mentors for new crew participants on future world circumnavigations. In 2009 Priddy was leased Lively Lady by Portsmouth City Council for 25 years for her to be maintained and used by the charity.[17] The charity restored and extensively refitted the yacht to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Rose's circumnavigation.[18]

Powerboat circumnavigation record attempt[edit]

In 2015 Priddy confirmed that an attempt to break the powerboat circumnavigation record would be made after trials of the purpose-built £2.9m, 80 feet (24 m) powerboat in the summer.[19] In April 2015 Priddy announced plans to offer places on the project to Blesma, a group of wounded service personnel who have formed a powerboat racing team.[20] The project was placed in jeopardy in 2015 when one of the sponsors withdrew, but replacement funding was subsequently secured to put the project, named Team Britannia,[21] back on track for the record attempt to be made in the 2020s.[22][23] In the meantime, fundraising continued.[24] By 2020, however, the project had been put on hold for the fourth year in a row with another two years' delay likely; in 2020 the boat, named Excalibur, was in the water at Hayling Island, mostly complete and with engines installed.[25]


In 2002, Priddy was given a Special Achievement Award by the British Inflatable Boat Owners' Association.[26] In 2008, Priddy received a We Can Do It Special Achievement Award[27] and was made a Paul Harris Fellow for his work with disadvantaged young adults. In July 2017 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Portsmouth.[28]


  1. ^ "World record bid boat being built in Dudley". BBC News. Birmingham. 3 October 2011. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
  2. ^ "UIM maailmarekordid veemotos seisuga 1/2008 (Union Internationale Motonautique)". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  3. ^ "Royal Yacht Association : Procedure For Long Distance Offshore Endurance World And National Records" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d Holkham, Tony (1997). Beating the Big One: the story of the first high-latitude Atlantic crossing by open boat for 1,000 years. Chichester: Safe T Net. ISBN 0952030551.
  5. ^ "London to Monaco - the full story!". Retrieved 13 October 2013.
  6. ^ "Spirit of Cardiff breaks UK record (BBC News/UK/Wales, 10 June 2000)". 10 June 2000. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
  7. ^ Powerboat crew begin record attempt BBC News web-site, 31 March 2002; extracted 13 January 2011
  8. ^ Powerboat record hopes in balance BBC News web-site, 26 May 2002; extracted 13 January 2011
  9. ^ Spirit boat record aim sinks BBC News web-site, 22 June 2002; extracted 13 January 2011
  10. ^ Tully, Clive (2002). Confronting Poseidon - Around the world against the odds. Portsmouth: Offshore Pub. ISBN 9780954409302.
  11. ^ Powerboat bids for historic record BBC News web-site, 15 September 2002; extracted 14 January 2011
  12. ^ Powerboat record sinks on final leg BBC News web-site, 17 September 2002; extracted 14 January 2011
  13. ^ The Soltron Atlantic Challenge - Clive Tully's journal
  14. ^ Powerboat crew's Atlantic rescue BBC News web-site, 3 August 2004; extracted 25 January 2011
  15. ^ Skipper 'thought it was all over' BBC News web-site, 3 August 2004; extracted 25 January 2011
  16. ^ Lively Lady returns 40 years on BBC News web-site, 5 July 2008; extracted 13 January 2011
  17. ^ Durham, Dick (12 October 2009). "Lively Lady returns to Alan Priddy". Yachting Monthly. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  18. ^ Katy Stickland (25 July 2018). "Sir Alec Rose's Lively Lady has been fully restored after undergoing an extensive refit". Retrieved 7 June 2022.
  19. ^ "Ocean racer Alan Priddy unveils round-the-world powerboat". The News (Portsmouth). 12 January 2015. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  20. ^ "Sailing legend Alan Priddy meets wounded servicemen". The News, Portsmouth. 3 April 2015. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  21. ^ Rachel Misstear (21 June 2016). "Pembrokeshire adrenaline junkie will join crew for new round the world record attempt". Wales online. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  22. ^ "Alan Priddy round-the-world powerboat record bid back on". BBC. 17 April 2016. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  23. ^ "Hampshire powerboat legend's record attempt 'back on'". ITV. 17 April 2016. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  24. ^ Eyleen Gomez (29 December 2016). "Team Brittania raises £7,500 for Calpe House". Gibraltar Chronicle. Retrieved 3 June 2022.
  25. ^ Tom Cotterill (30 December 2020). "Alan Priddy's global powerboat record bid is delayed for the fourth year in a row". The News, Portsmouth. Retrieved 3 June 2022.
  26. ^ Priddy gets achievement award, 1 Jan 2002 Boating Business
  27. ^ We Can Do It Special Achievement Award We Can Do It Awards 2008
  28. ^ "Honorary doctorate for Alan Priddy". Boating Business. 20 July 2017. Retrieved 26 September 2017.

Further reading[edit]

  • Holkham, Tony (1997). Beating the Big One: the story of the first high-latitude Atlantic crossing by open boat for 1,000 years. Chichester: Safe T Net. ISBN 0952030551.
  • Tully, Clive (2002). Confronting Poseidon - Around the world against the odds. Portsmouth: Offshore Pub. ISBN 9780954409302.

External links[edit]