NOSTALGIA: Chance to climb on board one of most famous yachts in history

Sir Francis Chichester on Gipsy Moth IV.

Gipsy Moth IV will return to Buckler’s Hard for the 50th anniversary of Sir Francis Chichester returning home to the Beaulieu River after his epic voyage to become the first person to single-handedly circumnavigate the globe.

To mark the anniversary, visitors to Buckler’s Hard will be able to climb on board the legendary yacht on Sunday, September 17 for a tour to learn more about her record-breaking history.

Gipsy Moth IV leaving the Beaulieu River

Beaulieu River receptionist and river hand Kate Mills was on board Gipsy Moth IV for her recent circumnavigation of Britain to celebrate the anniversary.

She says: ‘I read about Sir Francis Chichester’s amazing and inspirational story as a child. It was an honour to sail on board for the celebratory circumnavigation and to help bring her home to the Beaulieu River.’

Eileen Skinner, a founder trustee of the Gipsy Moth Trust, says: ‘Just stepping on board the boat really brings home what life was like for Chichester as he sailed, single-handedly, around the world.’

Visitors to Buckler’s Hard will be able to get a feel of life on board and talk to crew at the open day. More tales and artefacts from the voyage are also on show in the attraction’s Maritime Museum, including a map, personal items from the adventure and records of the floodings and a capsizing which put the voyage at risk.

Gipsy Moth IV at Buckler's Hard

Sir Francis sailed from Buckler’s Hard on August 12, 1966, for trials on the Solent before finally leaving Plymouth on August 27. After 226 days at sea, with only one stop in Sydney, the 65-year-old finally returned to Buckler’s Hard on September 17 the following year. He had travelled 29,630 miles in the 54ft ketch and eventually returned to his Beaulieu River mooring.

Sir Francis, the son of a clergyman, set a number of world firsts and records through his successful voyage.

He was the first person to sail solo around the earth and the fastest circumnavigator with his record of nine months and one day, which was almost twice as fast as the previous record.

Weeks after his circumnavigation, he was knighted for ‘individual achievement and sustained endeavour in the navigation and seamanship of small craft’.

Kate Mills sails on Gipsy Moth IV

For the ceremony, the Queen used the sword which had been used by Elizabeth I to knight the adventurer Sir Francis Drake, the first Englishman to complete a circumnavigation with his crew.

Asked why he undertook the journey, Sir Francis Chichester said simply: ‘Because it intensifies life.’

Visitors to Buckler’s Hard are welcome to go on board Gipsy Moth IV during attraction opening times between 10am and 4.30pm.

For more information see or call 01590 616203.

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