It is 40 years since Sir Francis Chichester sailed into Plymouth Sound in Gipsy Moth IV to a hero's welcome as he became the first person to complete a solo circumnavigation around the world. The anniversary of that momentous occasion last Monday saw her return to Plymouth after her second circumnavigation this time with a full crew aboard.
Although I haven't been really following her progress I was pleased to note that some young people had availed themselves of the opportunity to share the adventure: what an unforgettable experience that must have been!
There is a detailed website for Gipsy Moth IV here which appears to answer just about any question you could ask. I noticed that she is due in her new home at Cowes on the Isle of Wight this Sunday. The website states that she "will be a regular sight in the Solent, as she will continue to take young people on unique sailing experiences and take members of the public and corporate guests afloat." It's brilliant to know that such an historic vessel is in good hands with an assured future.
As a footnote it is worth recalling that Chichester had been a pioneering aviator and that in 1958, nine years before he completed his circumnavigation, he was diagnosed with cancer and given 6 months to live! This country is extraordinary in the way it produces these individuals with a great sense of adventure; Sir Ranulph Fiennes is another in the same mould.