Thursday, 16 June 2011

Gypsy Moth IV

Gypsy Moth IV
Birthday boy at the helm.
Well the dreadful day has been and gone and to be honest I feel better being fifty than I did being 49 and 364 days.  I’m not entirely sure why that is, but it just is.  Maybe it was the worry of a zimmer-frame arriving in the post or getting cold calls from Saga offering me cheap white-socks and sandal combinations by mail order as soon as I hit the big 5-oh.  But anyway, life is good and my fiftieth birthday was packed full of wonderful surprises, none of them involving Saga I'm pleased to say.  

One of those surprises was a trip out on the water aboard a piece of British history - the yacht Gypsy Moth IV.

As I am sure you all know, this is the yacht Sir Francis Chichester sailed single-handed around the world in 1966-7.  She has since been refitted and also completed another circumnavigation in 2006 to mark the 4Oth anniversary.  There is still much of her original fittings and equipment onboard and it was great just to have a look around her and even better to take her out on the water and also to be at the helm, imagining what Sir Francis must have been thinking as he set off from Plymouth on his solo voyage all those years ago.

The new electronics suite
The original HF radio set used by Sir Francis Chichester

The Galley on Gypsy Moth IV

Here is what he thought after completion of his historic journey:
Now that I have finished, I don't know what will become of Gipsy Moth IV. I only own the stern while my cousin owns two thirds. My part, I would sell any day. It would be better if about a third were sawn off. The boat was too big for me. Gipsy Moth IV has no sentimental value for me at all. She is cantankerous and difficult and needs a crew of three - a man to navigate, an elephant to move the tiller and a 3'6" chimpanzee with arms 8' long to get about below and work some of the gear." 

There were plenty of other yachts out on the water yesterday, old and modern, but everyone stopped and looked when Gypsy Moth went past - magic!!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for supporting my blog and for your comment/message.