The Marina at Marigot Bay, on the west coast of St Lucia, was the scene of celebration and emotion on New Year’s Day when British navigator Tristan Gooley became the first European to have both flown and sailed single-handed across the Atlantic.
The 34-year-old adventurer, who is helping to raise awareness about Prostate Cancer, received a rousing welcome from family, friends and well-wishers from the Discovery at Marigot Bay resort after 26 days alone at sea in his 32ft yacht, Golden Eye.
Also on hand to welcome the intrepid sailor was the Member of Parliament for Castries South, Robert Lewis, and Gooley’s young family who joined in celebrations waving balloons and sounding noise-makers as the small yacht approached the docks.
Gooley, who lives near Chichester, England and works in travel as the Vice-Chairman of the UK travel company, Trailfinders, now has two major achievements under his belt having also flown across the Atlantic solo early last year.
In May 2007, he flew from Goose Bay, Canada to Oxford, England in a single-engine Cessna Caravan, re-fuelling in Greenland, Iceland and Scotland during the epic two day flight.
The only other person to have achieved both is the legendary American navigator, Steve Fossett, who is still missing after a routine flight in Nevada in September. Tristan’s journey is also aimed at paying tribute to his American counterpart.
Amazingly, prior to setting sail from Lanzarote on December 7, Tristan Gooley had only had three hours of solo sailing experience and had never sailed overnight.
“It was a huge adventure that was years in the planning, and arriving here in Marigot Bay is the realization of a dream. I am also very fortunate that in realizing this dream I am able to talk about the important issue of prostate cancer and to pay tribute to Steve Fossett, who achieved so much himself and helped me and countless others to attain our goals,” said the father of two young boys.
Gooley continued: “Men are notoriously bad at discussing their health issues, especially issues such as prostate cancer. I thought if I could do something that might interest men, then I might have a better platform from which to discuss this illness and to help raise awareness. If my efforts lead to one more person learning a little about the disease of prostate cancer, it will have been worthwhile.”
As for the welcome he received, Gooley said it will be some months before it all sinks in. His wife Sophie, and young sons Benedict and Vincent, had flown in from London just hours before to be on the dock as Tristan arrived. His father, Michael, was overcome with emotion knowing his son was now safely back on land. A very warm welcome was extended by Discovery at Marigot Bay and the Marina.
“I am completely bowled over and still can’t believe this is for real. I feel very spoilt and very humbled that people have taken the time and the effort to organize such an outstanding welcome,” said Gooley. “I want to thank all of them. After 26 days at sea, I can’t imagine a more beautiful place to finish, nor a more emotional welcome.”
For further information contact Tristan Gooley on 00 44 7775 521693 or Sophie Gooley on + 44 7710 773539 or contact Lilas Allen at The Prostate Cancer Charity, Lilas.Allen@prostate-cancer.org.uk.
Submitted by the Marina at Marigot Bay, St. Lucia