Special events are being held in Plymouth today (28 May) to mark 50 years since Sir Francis Chichester completed his historic single-handed journey around the world in Gipsy Moth IV
On 28 May 1967, Sir Francis Chichester stepped ashore at The Waterfront Steps, West Hoe, Plymouth after becoming the first person to achieve a true circumnavigation of the world solo from West to East via the great Capes.
To mark the 50th anniversary on Sunday, Gipsy Moth IV will be in Plymouth ahead of a circumnavigation of Britain throughout the summer.
It coincides with the start of the combined OSTAR (Original Singlehanded Transatlantic Race) and TwoStar (two-handed) race, which both start from the Royal Western Yacht Club on Bank Holiday Monday (29 May).
This is fitting, as Sir Francis won the very first OSTAR in 1960.
On Sunday at 10am, a flotilla of yachts will gather in Plymouth Sound. At 11:30am Sir Francis Chichester’s son, Giles, will arrive at The Waterfront Steps, West Hoe, following in the footsteps of his father.
This will be followed at 11:45am by a Gipsy Moth flypast and a Tiger Moth air display.
From now until 28 May, Gipsy Moth IV will be berthed in Queen Anne’s Battery Marina and can be viewed by the public.
On Bank Holiday Monday, after the OSTAR and Two-Star fleets cross the start line to Newport, Rhode Island, USA, Gipsy Moth IV will set off on her own Round Britain clockwise tour to celebrate the 50th anniversary.
She will be calling at Milford Haven, Liverpool, Douglas, Isle of Man, Oban, Stornaway, Aberdeen, Newcastle, Hull, London, Portsmouth, Cowes and Dartmouth, before returning to Plymouth.
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Passage making opportunities will be available between all ports of call and the Gipsy Moth Trust will be making the yacht available for the public to sail on, including full day, half day and sunset champagne cruises.
All proceeds will go towards supporting the yacht’s maintenance as well as public viewings and free youth and charity involvement.
A founder trustee of the Gipsy Moth Trust, Eileen Skinner, said: “We are so excited to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Sir Francis Chichester’s epic circumnavigation this year, and could not think of a better way to honour his trip round the globe than to do our very own trip round Britain.”
“We are very much looking forward to the opportunity to have members of the public see and sail this historical yacht. Just stepping on board the boat really brings home what life was like for Chichester as he sailed, single-handedly, around the world all those years ago,” she added.