Chichester's yacht to sail the world again: official

After a major 19-day strip-down survey, Gipsy Moth IV, Sir Francis Chichester’s world famous 54ft wooden ketch, has been declared ‘in a fit state to be restored to sail around the world again.’ The exciting news was announced at a celebration party attended by more than 100 people at Camper & Nicholsons yard in Gosport, where she was built 38 years ago. It was just three weeks after Gipsy Moth was lifted from her ‘dry dock’ in Greenwich.

Yachting Monthly Editor Paul Gelder told an enthusiastic audience: ‘Just as Chichester raced against the Cutty Sark, we are racing against the clock to get this yacht restored in time for a second circumnavigation in nine months.’

Gathered alongside the yacht, stripped back to her bare wooden hull, Giorgio Bendoni, managing director of C&N, said: ‘We are delighted to welcome Gipsy Moth IV back to her home yard and proud to bring her back to life.’

So far, £100,000 has been raised towards restoration costs, being carried out at ‘cost’ as a charitable project by C&N. It’s estimated that shipwrights will need to spend 5,800 man hours restoring the ketch – 4,000 hours alone will be needed to make good the cold-moulded hull and keel, though much of the hull is in remarkable condition. More money is needed to guarantee the project’s success.

David Green, Chief Executive Officer of the UK Sailing Academy in Cowes, new owner’s of Gipsy Moth, described the campaign as a ‘milestone in Britain’s maritime history.’ He praised Yachting Monthly for its initiative in launching the restoration campaign. As we went to press, Crusader Sails in Poole had offered to make the sails for the ketch, at no charge; Bainbridge International had offered to supply the sailcloth; SP Systems had offered £5,000 worth of resins and epoxy; the British Marine Federation and National Boats Show had donated £3,000 worth of stand space at the Schroders London Boat Show to promote the project. Blue Water Rallies have waived their fees and will pay for transits of Panama and Suez Canals.

Discussions are in progress with Lewmar, who provided the original deck gear; Selden who will refurbish the original Proctor masts and various marine suppliers, including Raymarine, Ocean Safety, and Spencer’s rigging.

It is hoped that Gipsy Moth IV will be handed over for sea trials in July, so she can join the Blue Water Round the World Rally, which leaves Gibraltar in October for the Canaries and Antigua.