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of British sailing, with 64-year-old Sir Francis at the helm. Te 226 days of their trip were far from uneventful. Sir Francis faced a number of glitches, from the yacht’s wind vane failing, to its rolling in a 140-degree capsize, to being caught in a storm so vicious that the cockpit filled with water five times, the wind-reading machine stopped recording and his self- steering stopped coping with the buffeting. Yet, despite the at times life-threatening complications, at 8.58pm on 28th May 1967, exactly nine months and one day after she began her epic journey, Gipsy Moth IV returned to Plymouth Harbour, triumphant. She was greeted by more than 250,000

cheering well-wishers, not including the millions who were watching the historic moment on television. As well as the technical achievements and records, Sir Francis had proven that with courage and self-discipline, anyone could achieve amazing feats. Today, many have their own story to tell, the most common one being at primary school and, every day or so, plotting Gipsy Moth IV’s position on a big map of the world on the

classroom wall. She has been an inspiration to many young generations and has encouraged people all over the country to achieve the best that they can.

Gipsy Moth IV was not sailed again for a

long, long time after returning home. Instead, she took up her purpose built concrete dry dock in Greenwich for 40 long years, where many despondently witnessed her gradual dilapidation. She remained undisturbed but gently rotting until, in 2005, a campaign was launched in partnership with the United Kingdom Sailing Academy (UKSA) to restore her to her former glory, and send her off on another trip around the world, just in time for the 40th anniversary of her marathon voyage. Tis time the journey, which started in

September 2005 and took 22 months to complete, focused on changing the lives of those less fortunate. Instead of Sir Francis, 2005 saw 90 young adults aged 16-23, who were either from disadvantaged backgrounds or were suffering from cancer or a disability, on board the great vessel. She was welcomed back in Plymouth, exactly as she had been 40 years earlier, only this time greeted by Giles Chichester, son of Sir Francis. Despite the vast differences between the two trips, Gipsy Moth IV had managed to, yet again, inspire countless individuals to fulfill their potential and value their own self-worth. However this period of glory for Gipsy Moth IV was brief. Following her second trip, she was, for a considerable time, stored at the end of a line of yachts for sale in a boat yard, receiving minimal interest, most of which was from buyers abroad. It was after coming across information of her sale to a foreign buyer in a newspaper that East Anglian business partners, Rob Tompson and Eileen Skinner,

decided they would do their utmost to keep this extremely British piece of history where it belongs.

A meeting between the partners and

UKSA, from whom they purchased her and immediately leased her back for £1 and a gin and tonic a year (Sir Francis’s favourite tipple), was all it took for Gipsy Moth IV to begin the next stage of her life. Most of the year, she can now be found on the Isle of Wight, where she remains on display to the public, maintained by the Gipsy Moth Trust – a charity founded by Rob and Eileen, to which they transferred the ownership of the vessel so the Trust can protect and preserve her. Nevertheless, Gipsy Moth IV has not yet

said goodbye to her sailing days. She now attends events all around the coast and goes on a tour of the biggest summer activities every year, where she is made available to see and sail. Te reactions, smiles and comments from members of the public over the past few years, who remember her from her glory days, and were delighted to be able to finally set foot on her board, have been truly memorable. Gipsy Moth IV is also available for charter at both events and individual corporate days, the income from which is used to cover her maintenance and repair costs, and to keep her in good sailing condition. She provides a fantastic opportunity to sail on a boat which represents an intrinsically British piece of maritime history.

For more information about Gipsy Moth IV, her charters, and the Gipsy Moth Trust, please visit


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