Former RN commander tells of the day 2,500 saluted Chichester

Retired RN commander, Paul Bolas, recalls his meeting with Gipsy Moth IV when Francis Chichester was just completing his historic round-the-world voyage in 1967.

Paul was then a young lieutenant aboard the 60,000 ton air-craft carrier HMS Eagle and was approaching Plymouth at the same time as Gipsy Moth IV. ‘Chichester dipped his ensign and the whole 2,500 ship’s company were ordered on deck to give him a salute,’ recalls Paul.

‘It was history in the making and when I look back – though I take nothing away from young Ellen MacArthur – it was an amazing feat. He had no GPS and the weather we had faced was very uncomfortable. What he must have faced in that small boat was unbelievable.’

Paul now sails a Southerly 100 from Chichester and was inspired by the YM, UKSA, Maritime Trust partnership to restore GMIV, to dig out his photo-album. He is secretary of the Royal Naval Club and Royal Albert YC in Portsmouth, the club which kindly made available their library for the partnership to plan GMIV’s future. Yachting Monthly, 13 December 2004