Gipsy Moth IV: The World’s Most Famous Yacht is Up for Sale

Oceans
Photo: Gipsy Moth Trust

In 1967, Sir Francis Chichester became the first person to sail around the world solo from west to east. He had previously been the first to fly solo across the Tasman Sea, pioneered fighter pilot navigation during the Second World War, and won the first solo transatlantic sailing race in Gipsy Moth III while recovering from cancer. But it was his journey in Gipsy Moth IV that became international news and has inspired sailors for decades. Now the most famous yacht in the world is up for sale. For a mere $229,500, a piece of nautical history can be yours.

Photo: Sandeman Yacht Company

For years after Chichester’s iconic voyage, the Gipsy Moth sat on display in Greenwich. But yachting magazine editor Paul Gelder believed that such a craft should continue to sail the oceans, and in 2004, it was purchased for £1 and a gin-and-tonic (Chichester’s favorite drink) from the trust that administered it. It was rebuilt and actually did a second circumnavigation.

In 2010, another trust took it over with a promise to keep it in sailing condition. But COVID hit that small charity hard, and the trustees decided to sell the fabled yacht and to donate the proceeds from the sale to other sailing-related charities.

Francis Chichester set out from Portsmouth in August 1966. When he arrived back home 226 days later, over 300 boats, horns and sirens blaring, along with a quarter of a million people gathered to cheer him. It was a historic event that was televised globally. Shortly afterwards, he was knighted.

Chichester and Gipsy Moth IV broke the fastest voyage around the world by a small vessel, the longest passage by a small vessel (25,000km), and the third true circumnavigation by a small vessel via Cape Horn.

Photo: Chichester Archive/PPL

Gipsy Moth IV was designed by John Illingworth and Angus Primrose, and built by Camper & Nicholsons in 1966 specifically for the circumnavigation. The 16m, 16-tonne boat had her masts overhauled and new chainplates fitted in 2020. She has a cold-moulded, six-layer Honduras mahogany hull, a fibreglass outer skin, steamed timbers, a laminated one-piece hardwood backbone, laminated hardwood floors and a fibreglass plywood deck.

Photo: Gipsy Moth Trust

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About the Author

Rebecca McPhee

Rebecca is a freelance writer and science teacher based in the UK.

She is a keen traveler and has been lucky enough to backpack her way around Africa, South America, and Asia. With a background in marine biology, she is interested in everything to do with the oceans and aims to dive and open-water swim in as many seas as possible.

Her areas of expertise include open water sports, marine wildlife and adventure travel.

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