First sailor to benefit from GMIV since Chichester

Learning may come hard to Wayne Williams,27, but he has made a successful voyage aboard Gipsy Moth IV from London’s Tower Bridge to Cowes. He was accompanied on the trip by Karelyn Franke, a support worker with HFT, a registered national charity for adults with learning disabilities.

Dewi Thomas, of the UK Sailing Academy, GMIV’s new owners, said: ‘Our aim was to give Wayne every opportunity to take full part in the running of the yacht, and to develop his self reliance. He was initially very dependant on his carer, Karelyn, but he embraced the opportunities and was keen to understand how to sail, taking particular interest in the navigation. During the night sail he was determined to helm the yacht for the full 3 hours of his watch. A number of tasks did not come easy to Wayne but he showed commendable tenacity and persistence to complete them on his own.’

Wayne’s adventure pre-empts a round the world voyage planned to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Sir Francis Chichester’s epic, solo circumnavigation, and Yachting Monthly’s centenary. Gipsy Moth IV will circumnavigate the world again, this time via the trade winds route, stopping at 25 countries, taking 22 months to complete the voyage.

‘Wayne’s story epitomises what we are trying to achieve with Gipsy Moth IV,’ said Dewi, global voyage co-ordinater. ‘On his arrival at Greenwich, Wayne was naturally apprehensive but excited at his opportunity. By the end of his trip, Wayne demonstrated a remarkable development in his confidence, both in practical terms, and in his ability to communicate and integrate with his team. It was a pleasure to sail with him.’