Gipsy Moth IV faces headwinds as anniversary approaches

As Gipsy Moth IV approaches Plymouth her crew are facing the same frustrating winds that Sir Francis Chichester did 40 years beforehand. In his book Gipsy Moth Circles the World, Chichester quotes his log: ‘Blast it the wind has backed to the east, and, of course, is heading me.’ He also tells how three seas: ‘bowled down Gipsy Moth and gave the deck a proper sluicing.’

Four decades later GMIV’s skipper John Jeffrey is experiencing similar conditions. He has 20 knots of wind from the north-east and his bunk is awash from waves which have broken over the cockpit.

With 450 odd miles to the Plymouth Breakwater, John said: ‘The winds decreased and veered overnight and we are now able to steer north, but heavy seas are still impeding progress and we are motoring to keep speed up.’

John is doing his best to meet the deadline: 28 May – which would mark exactly the 40th anniversary of Chichester’s return when 250,000 turned up to cheer him home.

But John said:’There is no foreseeable improvement in wind direction for some days so the timetable is still not guaranteed.  Our next problem could be fuel.  We probably have enough in total, including deck cans, but decanting them in rough seas is something I prefer to avoid if possible.  However, if we have to do it to keep the speed up then so be it.’