New owners are being sought for Gipsy Moth IV, the legendary yacht which took Sir Francis Chichester around the world

Gipsy Moth IV, the legendary ketch which took Sir Francis Chichester around the world in 1966-67, is to be put up for sale following the closure of the Gipsy Moth Trust.

The charity said a lack of revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a costly maintenance programme, which was carried out over winter 2019, had resulted in a significant trading loss.

Although the sum has been covered by the charity’s reserves, the trustees have decided that with ‘no certain income in 2021 it would be irresponsible to continue trading.’

A man sitting in the cockpit of the yacht which took Sir Francis Chichester around the world in 1966-67

Designed for solo sailing, it was not practical to make the wooden 53ft Gipsy Moth IV COVID-19 secure. Credit: Theo Stocker

Eileen Skinner, who co-founded the Gipsy Moth Trust alongside Rob Thompson, said attempts had been made to find additional donors ‘but realistically there are a great many very deserving charities desperate for donations to cover their loss of income caused by this virus.’

‘The existing donors feel after a great many years subsidising this wonderful vessel that it is time to allow others to take her on the next leg of her journey,’ she said.

Customers who booked sailing trips for 2020 on board the 53-foot wooden yacht have all been reimbursed. Regular monthly supporters of the trust will also be refunded for payments made in 2021.

Over the 10 years the Trust has been looking after Gipsy Moth IV, it has achieved what it set out to do, in maintaining the boat in good sailing condition and giving over 1,700 people the opportunity to sail on her. Tens of thousands have stepped on board to view her during port visits and shows in the UK and abroad.

Gipsy Moth has also competed in many Round the Island races, ASTO Small ships races with young people, and Cowes Classic week regattas as well as the 2019 Fastnet Race and a number of festivals including the four yearly Brest and Douarnenez festival, Weymouth Waterfest and the Plymouth maritime festival.

At boat shows she became a regular exhibit at both Southampton and Jersey and was privileged to mark the start line of the Golden Globe Race 2018 and the OSTAR. In recent years she has also been recognised as an RYA sailing school and thereby inspiring the next generation of sailors and adventurers.

Gipsy Moth IV has also seen many famous faces on board sailing her including the Princess Royal, Princess Anne, Dame Ellen Macarthur, Mike Golding, Ben Fogle and David Dimbleby.

‘Our current plan is to try to sell Gipsy Moth IV, and once all costs are settled to distribute the remaining funds between various other charities in the same sector, so that there will be ongoing benefits from our link with Gipsy Moth,’ added Eileen Skinner.

A sailing ketch being lifted out at Greenwich

Gipsy Moth IV is lifted out of the water at Greenwich ahead of a £500,000 restoration spearheaded by Yachting Monthly and UKSA. Credit: CARL DE SOUZA/AFP via Getty Images

Following Sir Francis’ record breaking voyage in 1967, Gipsy Moth IV was lifted out and berthed alongside Cutty Sark in Greenwich, where she was left to slowly rot away.

In 2003, a campaign, initiated by the then Yachting Monthly editor, Paul Gelder, was launched to restore her.

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The boat was bought for ‘£1 and a gin and tonic’ by the UKSA which then oversaw the £500,000 restoration carried out by her original builders, Camper & Nicholsons.

Gipsy Moth IV went on to complete a second circumnavigation in 2005.

The yacht was bought in 2010 by Elaine Skinner and Rob Thompson, who wanted to keep the boat in the UK ‘as a fundamental part of our sailing history, to make her available for people of all ages to see and sail and to inspire a new generation of young people.’

The Gipsy Moth Trust was launched in July 2011.

She is being listed for sale with classic yacht brokers Sandeman Yacht Company.

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