The plan to rescue and restore Gipsy Moth IV and sail her around the globe a second time was hatched in a wine bar in December 2002
The plan to rescue and restore Gipsy Moth IV and sail her around the globe a second
time was hatched in a wine bar in December 2002, during a Friday night discussion between Yachting Monthly editor Paul Gelder and features editor Dick Durham on how to celebrate the magazine’s 100th birthday. YM had been running news stories on the famous ketch, looking forlorn and neglected in her Greenwich dry dock.
The omens looked set, when it was discovered that the magazine’s centenary, in 2006, coincided with the 40th anniversary of Chichester’s departure from Plymouth. A plan was put together and the Blue Water Rally organisation was approached to see if a restored Gipsy Moth IV could join their 22-month trade winds circumnavigation (from 2005-2007) as a guest. Rally directors Peter Seymour and Tony Diment agreed to waive fees of some £12,000, including the transit costs for the Panama and Suez canals.
The then custodians of the yacht, the Maritime Trust, were approached and Richard Doughty, secretary of the trust and chief executive of the Cutty Sark Trust, was convinced enough to call a meeting of trustees. Yachting Monthly’s ambitious proposal to find a sponsor to refit the yacht and introduce a new generation of young sailors to Sir Francis Chichester’s ‘Spirit of Adventure’ was unanimously approved and welcomed by the trustees as ‘an imaginative initiative’.
The campaign to save Gipsy Moth IV was launched in the September 2003 issue of the magazine and at the Southampton Boat Show. Camper & Nicholsons, the yacht’s original builders, agreed to restore GMIV at cost price as a charitable project. A year later the UK Sailing Academy (UKSA) stepped aboard and put £40,000 into the fund, becoming proud new owners of the 53ft ketch for a symbolic £1 coin and a gin and tonic. The Maritime Trust boosted the fund with another £10,000 and offshore sailor Stephen Thomas, a director of Blue Water Rallies, made the first public donation: £15,000. Tragically, Stephen was killed a few weeks later during an Antarctic cruise when he fell down a crevasse. It is hoped his son, James, will sail a leg of the voyage.
Within three months £250,000 had been donated in money, goods and services by well-wishers and the marine industry. But it was now a race against time to get the yacht ready for her second circumnavigation.
This will be the sixth Blue Water Round the World Cruising Rally, helping cruising yachtsmen achieve their dream to sail the globe. Independent cruising is encouraged with a highly experienced support team at main ports of call providing back-up.
The 2005-7 Rally has more than 33 entries, mostly British, but with yachts from eight nations, including four from France. The smallest is a Nicholson 35 sailing with a family of four . The largest is a Hallberg-Rassy 62 entered by Christoph Rassy. There are seven Hallberg-Rassy yachts in the fleet, plus three catamarans.
As part of their preparations, owners took part in two weekend seminars in the UK with participants attending from both the UK and Europe. The rally left Gibraltar in October, 2005
A NEW ROUTE FOR GMIV
Gipsy Moth IV made her epic passage from Plymouth to Sydney, Australia, and home in 1966-67, via the three Great Capes of Good Hope, Leeuwin, and Horn. But 40 years on a more leisurely circumnavigation seems fitting for a grand old lady. The Blue Water Rally circles the globe every two years, providing support and safety for a fleet of cruising yachts. It follows the trade winds route from the Canaries to the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal and across the Pacific to Australia, and home via Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Suez Canal. Gipsy Moth will depart from the rally’s normal route to sail from Tonga to Auckland, New Zealand, in July 2006 and then Sydney, before rejoining the fleet in Cairns. Chichester may well have approved of the new route: ‘Wild horses could not drag me down to Cape Horn and that sinister Southern Ocean again in a small boat,’ he said, back on dry land after his 29,000-mile adventure.