HRH Princess Anne, Ellen MacArthur and Shirley Robertson celebrate GMIV's restoration

PHOTO:LADIES DAY! Shirley Robertson, Gini Chichester and Ellen MacArthur sail up the Thames

Crowds of well-wishers thronged the banks of the Thames at Greenwich today, Wednesday, to welcome Gipsy Moth IV back to the capital for a royal rededication.

The fully restored yacht glided into her berth beneath Cutty Sark with a remarkable crew on board. Dame Ellen MacArthur had the bowline while two-time Olympic gold medallist Shirley Roberston had the sternline.

Dame Ellen, who is on a flying visit back to the UK, rearranged her schedule and was helicoptered to London from Cowes so that she could be present. Children from the Ellen MacArthur Trust will be among the many young people who will sail onboard GMIV during her circumnavigation.

Gipsy Moth IV returned to Greenwich, where she spent three decades in dry dock, for a rededication ceremony. Under blue skies, and with a gentle easterly lifting the ensign, UKSA’s David Green introduced the Princess Royal.

Princess Anne has followed the project closely since its inception and after congratulating all those involved in the yacht’s restoration and planned circumnavigation, she poured champagne over her bow.

Previously Sir Julian Oswald of the Maritime Trust had highlighted the efforts of Yachting Monthly editor Paul Gelder and UKSA chief executive David Green, describing them as the ‘white knights’ that had rescued Sir Francis Chichester’s famous craft.

Gipsy Moth IV will spend the night at Greenwich before passing under the raised Tower Bridge at 1345 on Thursday and mooring against HMS Belfast on the Southbank near London Bridge.

She returns to Cowes very early on Friday morning.