Monday, September 26, 2005

Gipsy Moth IV set for Gibraltar trip

The legendary yacht Gipsy Moth IV yesterday returned to the port where she completed the first one-stop round-the-world voyage - to make final preparations for a repeat trip.

The 53ft ketch was welcomed by thousands when Sir Francis Chichester sailed her into Plymouth after 274 days at seas in 1966-67. Her next leg will be to Gibraltar.

She was back in the Devon port yesterday ahead of Sunday’s departure on a 29,630 mile repeat voyage - on which teams of three youngsters from UK schools and organisations will help crew her on each of the 28 legs.

Following a £300,000 refit, the yacht, under the helm of the United Kingdom Sailing Academy, is to re-enact Sir Francis’ voyage.

One of the youngsters who will help sail the Plymouth-Gibraltar leg ,Peter Heggie, 17, from Stoke Dameral Community College in Plymouth, said:

“It is a fantastic opportunity and really exciting. I am nervous but that’s part of it."

Leadership centre guide Elaine Caldwell, 23, working at Staffin, on the Isle of Skye, said:

“I will undoubtedly get a sense of isolation sailing aboard Gipsy Moth IV, which will give me more time for myself."

The third young crew member is 17 year old A level student Matthews Pakes, from Wootton, Isle of Wight.

The vessel, which has been in dry dock in Greenwich since her record breaking voyage, was given a new lease of sea going life last November. She was sold for £1 and a gin and tonic to the United Kingdom Sailing Academy, which organised a refit with the help of the UK marine industry and sponsors.

Places on the Gipsy Moth IV cirumnavigation project voyage were allocated through specially selected schools and organisations from across the country.

Members of the public will be looking over the vessel today - and on Sunday an armada of craft is expected to follow her as she casts off on her new voyage.

And the same Gypsy Moth biplane that flew out to meet Sir Francis Chichester when he returned from his record breaking voyage will fly across Plymouth Sound and escort Gipsy Moth IV out of Plymouth’s water. The plane will be flown by Nigel Reid, son of John Reid who made the memorable flight back in 1967.

Following Chichester’s return from his epic journey, he was knighted and the Gipsy Moth IV was put on show at the London Boat Show in January 1968 before being placed in dry berth next to the Cutty Sark until last November.


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