A round-the -world sailor who lost everything when his yacht sank in the North Sea is preparing to venture across the waves again, thanks to a successful funding campaign.
Julian Mustoe, 82, was given a temporary home by Wortham couple Edward and Sue Coales after his 25 foot yacht — his home of eleven years which had travelled some 35,000 miles — sank in October.
Mr Mustoe told the Diss Express at the time it was “like watching an old friend drown” and a bid to raise enough money to get the sailor a new home began.
And thanks to the generosity of the Diss Express area and the sailing community, Mr Mustoe has a new home — and is preparing to set sail once again.
A campaign launched by the Wortham couple raised £9,500. Mr Mustoe was touched by the level of response the appeal had.
“It just shows you that there are a lot of generous people out there,” he told the Diss Express. “A lot of people contributed who I did not know, complete strangers.
I feel my life is getting back on the rails againJulian Mustoe
“I think it restores your faith.
“A lot of people contributed modest amounts of money, and it all added up. It’s amazing.”
After spending two weeks in Wortham, he stayed on an old sailing friend’s boat at Ramsgate Marina.
But last month Mr Mustoe had gathered enough funds to buy a new boat. The Hunter Horizon is currently named ‘Deben Huntress’, but he plans on renaming his craft ‘Zepherus’ —the Greek god of the west wind, the messenger of spring.
“I feel my life is getting back on the rails again,” he said.
“I have lived on a boat for the last 17 years, so it feels like I am re-establishing myself.
“When I retired 17 years ago I guess I could have retired to a cottage in the country I would not have known what to do with myself.”
His new boat is virtually the same length as his last, although it does have more room to live on. The Hunter Horizon was designed by David Thomas.
Mr Mustoe describes his new home as a “well-designed boat that sails properly.”
It has, however, been out of action for the past couple of years. Work has been undertaken on the craft to prepare it for its next voyage.
“His builds have a good reputation for their build quality so that was one of the things that drew me into buying this boat,” added Mr Mustoe.
“Just looking at it, it looks like it will sail well.”
Mrs Coales said she was “absolutely delighted” Mr Mustoe had decided to set sail once again.
“This is the outcome we had hoped for,” she said.
“I know at the time he was thinking hard about whether he should go back to sea, and obviously that is the life he loves and that is what he wants to do.
“It’s brilliant. I did have a chat with Julian relatively recently and he sounds so much like his old self again.
“It brings a lump to your throat (people’s generosity to the donation appeal).
“I really think he is an inspiration to young people. He is a remarkable character.”
Mr Mustoe was due to sail from the Shetland Islands to Bergen in Norway in October 2015 in his yacht, Harrier of Down.
But when his boat’s steering gear failed he then needed to be towed to safety. It was during the tow that his home sank 300 metres to the bottom of the sea.
Mr Mustoe lost everything, except for his credit card and passport.
He said he plans on visiting the Coales in Wortham before heading out on a Hanseatic voyage to Bergen in August.
Harrier of Down was built and bought in Argentina in October 2004, three years into Mr Mustoe’s circumnavigation of the world between 2001 and 2012. The first Harrier had become shipwrecked seven months previous.
The account of his journey has been chronicled in his book, Voyage of the Harrier, which was released in August.
n Julian Mustoe appeared on BBC Radio 4’s The Untold, on Monday at 11am. The series tells the stories of people who have experienced a change in the direction of their lives, and is available to listen to on the BBC iPlayer at www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer