40 years ago Mr Francis Chichester sailed his small yacht “Gypsy Moth” around the world single handed. He returned to the UK to a tumultuous welcome and was knighted by HM The Queen on the Great Square at the Royal Naval College Greenwich, London, to popular acclaim. Sir Francis died 20 years ago, his yacht was put on display at Greenwich in drydock alongside the Cutty Sark until is was restored to seaworthy condition recently.
Today Monday 28th May 2007 the Gypsy Moth arrived back at Plymouth, England after a voyage around the world in the “footsteps” of Chichester. This time the yacht was crewed by disadvantaged youngsters from the UK. Equipped with the latest navigation devices and without solitude for months on end, Sir Francis had to endure, the various crew members expressed unreserved admiration for what their predecessor had achieved 40 years ago.
The arrival of Gypsy Moth on 28th May at Plymouth was exactly 40 years to the day (if not the actual hour)
from when Sir Francis Chichester returned to UK after his solo round the world voyage. 200,000 people and an armada of small craft welcomed him back into Plymouth Sound. The same number of people and craft welcomed the arrival of the Gypsy Moth today. The latest voyage was organized by the UK Sailing Academy which discovered the boat in drydock at Greenwich in 1984 and started the project to recommission her. The UKSA which now owns the vessel spent £650,000 renovating and restoring the craft. The youngsters who crewed the Gypsy Moth were the latest of 90 from disadvantaged backgrounds who had crewed the ketch under experienced skippers around the globe starting in September 2005. Gypsy Moth will in future be based in Cowes, Isle of Wight and be available for charter as well as for charitable purposes.