In 2017 it will be fifty years since maritime history was made when one small vessel the ‘Gipsy Moth IV’ and Sir Francis Chichester circumnavigated the world.
In May that amazing achievement will be commemorated when the ‘Gipsy Moth IV’ sets sail once more to travel around the U.K and she will be stopping off at Stornoway Harbour.
A spokesman for the charity ‘The Gipsy Moth Trust’, who have organised this latest challenge, said: “To mark the 50th anniversary next year, Gipsy Moth IV begins another great voyage – a clockwise 1,500-mile circumnavigation of Great Britain – starting on May 29th.
“There will be 11 legs on the voyage round Britain, with stopovers at 12 towns and cities: Milford Haven, Liverpool, the Isle of Man, Oban, Stornoway, Aberdeen, Newcastle, Hull, London, Portsmouth, Cowes and Dartmouth.
“Gipsy Moth IV will be on the start line at Plymouth with her own starting gun due to be fired by a member of the royal family. After a fly-past by the Red Arrows, Gipsy Moth will sail southwest, around Land’s End and up the Irish Sea to Milford Haven.
“Yachtsman and adventurers can book a berth on the voyage for as little as £150 (the shortest, penultimate leg, Dartmouth to Plymouth) or between £300 and £500.
“The longest leg, from Oban to Aberdeen, with a stopover in Stornoway, is £790 per person. With a fully qualified skipper and mate aboard, stages of the voyage can count towards RYA qualifications.”
In 1966/67 Sir Francis Chichester Circled the World single handed on Gipsy Moth IV – one of the most amazing challenges of the 20th Century.
She sailed into Plymouth Harbour at the culmination of a remarkable 28,500 mile journey.
During that journey which had taken 226 days, Sir Francis had consumed 100 tins of fish, 16 dozen fresh eggs, half a dozen bottles of gin.
The challenge saw him breaking multiple records, including: setting the fastest voyage around the world by any small sailing vessel;
The longest non-stop passage that had been made by a small sailing vessel (15,000 miles);
The longest passage by a single-hander (more than doubling the previous record);
Twice breaking the record for a single-handers week’s run by more than 100 miles,
The record for single handed speed by sailing 1,400 miles in eight days.
At the end of the journey more than a quarter of a million well-wishers – with millions more watching on television – greeted Sir Francis and Gipsy Moth IV – named for the de Havilland Gipsy Moth aircraft Sir Francis had previously flown single-handed across the Atlantic – on their arrival in Plymouth.
Following her momentous journey Gipsy Moth IV took up a purpose built dry dock in Greenwich during a retirement that lasted more than 40 years and which took an enormous toll on the yacht.
Undisturbed, but gently rotting, Gipsy Moth IV fell into a severe state of disrepair until a campaign was launched in 2005 by Yachting Monthly in partnership with the UK Sailing Academy (UKSA), which restored the historic yacht and sent her off on another round-the-world trip in time for the 40th anniversary of Chichester’s travels.
Her restoration ensured meant that a new generation was able to see her in her full glory.
This was an important step towards what she is now dedicated to – namely the inspiration of the public and young sailors.
The Gipsy Moth Trust was established with the remit of making the historic yacht available for the public to not only see, but also sail.
The yacht spends much of her year on the Isle of Wight, but has an annual summer programme that includes some of the UK’s biggest regattas.
Now her working life to inspire will continue in this latest voyage around the UK and islanders will have a chance to see this famous vessel for themselves when she calls into Stornoway harbour for a visit.