Enthusiasm is growing in Australia for the Yachting Monthly Centenary project to restore Gipsy Moth IV and sail her to Sydney.

Enthusiasm is growing in Australia for the Yachting Monthly Centenary project to restoreGipsy Moth IVand sail her to Sydney.

The Sydney Morning Telegraph was due to publish a major feature on the project, as part of its coverage of the Sydney-Hobart Race. At the same time the CYC is showing great interest in becoming involved in the celebrations, which we are hoping will accompanyGipsy Moth’s return to the Harbour 40 years after Sir Francis Chichester’s triumphal entry in 1966.

Meanwhile, back in Britain, the establishment of theGipsy Moth IVrestoration project as a registered charity has meant that several substantial offers of financial backing have now been confirmed.

One major British boat builder has expressed interest in undertaking the refit. Two Yachting Monthly readers have also offered substantial finance. One of these is an offer of £200,000 from a man who wants to take part in the circumnavigation with his fiancée. Another is for £100,000 from a man who wants to be able to sail the boat after the circumnavigation and keep her on the Fal.

Further good news from the current owners, the Maritime Trust, is that it is prepared to hand over ownership ofGipsy Mothto anyone whoever foots the bill for the refit, provided funds to ensure its future are secured. In the meantime, YM has arranged to charter the yacht and take over her management for the duration of the refit and circumnavigation.

There have been many offers of financial and product support from the marine industry. One super-yacht builder has offered a complete set of stainless steel work, free of charge, and another company has offered to relay the teak decks. Television interest is also growing. Carlton Television has already made a news programme about the restoration and three independent television production companies are interested in making documentaries of both the refit and the circumnavigation.

Leading names from the sailing and wider maritime world continue to join the ranks of our supporters. Admiral of the Fleet, Sir Julian Oswald is among the latest to give it his blessing. He joins distinguished names such as Ellen MacArthur who became the youngest person and fastest woman to circumnavigate the world alone in 2001, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail non-stop around the world, Sir Chay Blythe, the first man to circumnavigate alone, non-stop west-about and Sir Francis’ son, Giles Chichester MEP.

Paul Gelder, Editor of Yachting Monthly, and the project’s founder and driving force, said: ‘There are a lot of obstacles to overcome but I am hopeful that, by the Spring we will have the green light to liftGipsy Mothout of dry dock and begin the 18-month-long task of refitting her for another epic voyage.’ Plans for YM readers and members of the public, to subscribe to the restoration funds and to sail on board during trials and the legs of the circumnavigation, are being formulated.