Two architecture students shared one dream, and with the help of a converted lifeboat, it eventually became a reality
The shriek of an alarm shatters the darkness, howling wind whips your face and lashing rain has you shivering to the core, then the call to abandon ship rings through the night sending jolts of adrenaline coursing through your veins. Staring out into the black abyss of broiling sea, your only choice is to step into the bleak darkness of the lifeboat and make a bid for survival.
For most of us, this chilling scenario would be our only experience of a ship’s lifeboat – and it is thankfully an uncommon occurrence. For hundreds of seafaring years, the lifeboat has been considered a seaman’s last resort, but for two British architects a decommissioned lifeboat was the gateway to an incredible adventure.
In 2018, friends Guylee Simmonds and David Schnabel bought a 100-person survival lifeboat and spent just over a year transforming the utilitarian vessel with a mission to take it on an epic 5,000km, four-month cruise from the Sussex coast to the Arctic Circle.
Guylee and David, both 28, met while studying architecture at Cardiff University and had always dreamt of embarking on a big adventure. “The trip initially started out as an extended hiking trip. Norway was a place where we could enjoy all of our favourite outdoor pursuits, from skiing and kite surfing to hiking and camping, then things rather snowballed,” says Guylee.
To read Guylee and David’s full story, pick up the May edition of MBY, which is out now.