Back as she was in 1966-67
Gipsy Moth IV is to be restored as closely as possible to her original blueprint – just as Sir Francis sailed her on his lone 226 day circumnavigation back in 1966-67.
Equipment will be selected on the basis of historical integrity, spares availability and safety for sailing with young people. ‘If we can get old stuff to work and it’s reliable we’ll use it,’said Project Director Olly Cameron. ‘The whole essence of the refit will be that when you walk down Gipsy Moth’s companionway, it will be just as it was in Chichester’s day, 40 years ago,’ said David Green.
The original Brooks and Gatehouse navigational instruments may be refurbished to plot her course around the world again. But modern GPS satellite navigation and 21st century communications will also be discreetly installed so the public can follow her new global adventures.
Blondie Halser’s original self-steering gear will be stripped and repaired. The original masts and spars are to be re-anodised and re-stepped: a tribute to Proctor Masts who made them nearly 40 years ago.
The boat’s original paraffin heater, described by shipwright Nick Gates as ‘the biggest sock dryer I’ve seen’, is also to be restored by the son of the man who fitted it almost four decades ago.
There will be no radar, no hot water, no showers and no roller furling foresails, but the yacht will be fitted with larger water tanks and a water-maker, as a concession to her crew of six – rather than a solo skipper.
The yacht’s cockpit is rotten and will be cut out and replaced. This will give shipwrights access to her Perkins diesel engine, also to be replaced. Finally, the hull will be epoxy sheathed to preserve the yacht’s life and ensure low maintenance. The UKSA plan to use the yacht after her circumnavigation in 2007, to give youngsters the ‘Chichester experience’ – a chance to feel what sailing was like in the Spartan, satellite-free 1960s.