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What's happening at Plymouth this season?

Gipsy Moth IV flotilla

gipsy moth

28 May 2017

Chichester 50th Celebrations

To mark the 50th Anniversary of Sir Frances Chichester's famous voyage, SY Gipsy Moth IV is returning to Plymouth.

She will arrive on Sunday 28th May and all boat owners are inviting to give her a memorably welcome to Plymouth, the location of where her voyage got underway, 50 years ago.

The Flotilla - 10:45 on Sunday 28th May

All boats and yachts are invited to join a flotilla to escort Gipsy Moth IV under engine across Plymouth Sound to West Hoe. 

Giles Chichester will land at the waterfront at 11:30 followed by an air display of Tiger Moths.

Boats attending should be in the vicinity of Kildare Buoy, north of the Breakwater by 10:15 and listen on Ch72 for escort details.

Gipsy Moth IV will be berthed at QAB and is open for public viewing from 26th-28th May. 

About Gipsy Moth IV

Commissioned and built by Camper & Nicholson's boatyard in Gosport, GMIV was designed by John Illingworth and Angus Primrose for the purpose of attempting an unimaginable feat of seamanship. Chichester had dreamed of challenging the passage times of the wool Clipper ships to Sydney, boats that by comparison represented 5 times the waterline length of his proposed ketch.

The challenge itself was unprecedented, compounded by the fact the Chichester was 65 years old at the time of his circumnavigation and had been fettered by illness. Nonetheless the resolve of this remarkable man held strong and whilst he never accomplished his goal of 100 days on passage, he did achieve a number of world firsts and records through his attempt.

The immense voyage captured the imagination of the world and on 28th May 1967 over a quarter of a million people gathered on Plymouth Hoe to welcome Francis Chichester and Gipsy Moth IV back home to a true hero's welcome. The event was globally televised and, together with her skipper, Gipsy Moth IV became the most famous yacht in the world.

Chichester famously held no emotional regard for the ketch after his return and wrote in his book 'Gipsy Moth Circles the World' "Now that I have finished, I don't know what will become of Gipsy Moth IV. I only own the stern while my cousin owns two thirds. My part, I would sell any day. It would be better if about a third were sawn off. The boat was too big for me. Gipsy Moth IV has no sentimental value for me at all. She is cantankerous and difficult and needs a crew of three - a man to navigate, an elephant to move the tiller and a 3'6" (1.1m) chimpanzee with arms 8' (2.4m) long to get about below and work some of the gear".

Chichester was knighted for his immense journey and in July 1968 Gipsy Moth IV was placed into a purpose built dry dock next to the Cutty Sark in Greenwich and opened to the public. Just over four years later, Sir Francis Chichester passed away