Experts gather on remote island as support floods in

The Gipsy Moth IV project has been overwhelmed with the level of international support for the rescue mission for their yacht which is currently aground on a small reef on the north shore of the Island of Rangiroa in the South Pacific.

Captain Kleijwegt, a specialist in marine recovery from global experts Smit in Rotterdam, with a keen interest in the project, was due to arrive last night, and will add to the team on the ground who are already assembled these include; Richard Baggett ( lead skipper for Gipsy Moth and refit manager arriving today ), John Jeffreys ( Yachtmaster Ocean and RYA Instructor ), Bruno Videau a local marine recovery expert and his two assessors, Paul Gelder Editor of Yachting Monthly and Group Captain Peter Seymour Rtd who is a Director of the Blue Water Rally.

They are being assisted by all the locals under the direction of Felix the local Deputy Mayor who has offered assistance to the crew and considerable manpower and resources for the rescue effort.

The decisions and actions taken in the next few days will be crucial to the outcome of the rescue. There are numerous options for the recovery from the reef and a number of alternatives in terms of yards which could conduct the repair work.

The local experts are currently conducting their assessment and their preliminary report will be completed shortly. Further information will be released as soon as it is available.

Calls have been flooding in from well-wishers, sponsors and supporters all of whom are determined to see Gipsy Moth sailing again.

Many of those involved in the original restoration have offered their services and are prepared to fly out to assist with the repairs.

The UKSA has had a number of messages of support from the Chichester family reminding us of the challenges that faced Sir Francis and how he was able to overcome them with his determination, courage, tenacity and resolve.

David Green of the UKSA said: ‘He was never deterred and the Gipsy Moth Team are determined that this setback will not become a show-stopper for this wonderful voyage for the young people involved. As one of the team members was heard to say today – where there is a will there is a way and there is no shortage of will from around the world to solve this current problem and get us on our way again. ‘

‘There have been so many challenges during the life of this project from getting Gipsy Moth IV out of the ground at Greenwich and raising the funds for her restoration to meeting the almost impossible deadlines of the event schedule and selecting the deserving young people from over 2,000 applicants, it is as if this is another part of the “Chichester Challenge” – all our focus is now on the matter of getting her fixed and back on track for her Voyage.’