Sir Francis Chichester

First winner of a solo Transatlantic race


In 1929 Chichester (1901-1972), an Englishman, learned how to fly and set off in a Gipsy Moth biplane for Sydney, Australia, becoming the second man to fly solo from England to Australia. Following WWII he took up ocean racing and in 1960 took part in the first-ever single-handed transatlantic race, which he won in 40 days, sailing Gipsy Moth III.

In 1966 he set off single-handed aboard his new yacht _Gipsy Moth IV _ and sailed around the world returning to Plymouth, the first to circumnavigate solo with only one stop. Later in the year he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth using Sir Francis Drake's sword.
His books, including _Gipsy Moth Circles the Globe _ are wonderfully written paeans to the life of offshore sailors.

_Gipsy Moth IV _ resides in a place of honor, next to the clipper ship _Cutty Sark _ in Greenwich, England, a mute tribute to Chichester's indomitable spirit. But, truth be told, he hated the boat. " _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".