Today marks 50 years since Sir Francis Chichesterís epic Round The World Voyage

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Sir Francis Chichester’s epic round the world voyage

The 28th May 2017 marks 50 years since Sir Francis Chichester arrived back in Plymouth as the first person to circumnavigate the world single-handedly. A momentous historical occasion, and a key milestone for Henri Lloyd as Sir Francis chose the now legendary Henri Lloyd Consort jacket to protect him throughout extreme conditions. And he certainly needed it; the pioneer faced 226 days alone at sea and crossed the Atlantic, the Cape of Good Hope, the Pacific and Cape Horn – 28,500 miles of dangerous ocean.

Born the son of a clergyman in Devon, Chichester emigrated to New Zealand at the age of 18, where he lived for 10 years building a business. In 1929 he qualified as an air pilot after returning to England to visit his family. After getting hold of his own aircraft, a De Havilland Gipsy Moth, he set his sights on flying it back to New Zealand, breaking records in the process. And while he just missed the solo flight to Australia record, his navigational prowess was widely recognised and his taste for adventure was well and truly cemented.

Although he did not serve in the Second World War due to age and eyesight, he worked as an Air Navigation Specialist, using his ground breaking techniques to teach navigation. He stayed in the UK after the war and started his own map-making company.

It was only in 1958 that he turned from aviation to long distance yachting, after recovering from a lung problem. Such was his determination that just two years later he had won the first single-handed transatlantic yacht race.

In 1966 at the age of 65, he undertook his greatest achievement, sailing solo from Plymouth all the way around the world in his yacht, the Gypsy Moth IV, making only a single stop in Sydney, Australia. He set out to beat the best times set by the clipper ships a century earlier. He took 274 days to complete the circumnavigation, (

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Sir Francis Chichester’s epic round the world voyage

The 28th May 2017 marks 50 years since Sir Francis Chichester arrived back in Plymouth as the first person to circumnavigate the world single-handedly. A momentous historical occasion, and a key milestone for Henri Lloyd as Sir Francis chose the now legendary Henri Lloyd Consort jacket to protect him throughout extreme conditions. And he certainly needed it; the pioneer faced 226 days alone at sea and crossed the Atlantic, the Cape of Good Hope, the Pacific and Cape Horn – 28,500 miles of dangerous ocean.

Born the son of a clergyman in Devon, Chichester emigrated to New Zealand at the age of 18, where he lived for 10 years building a business. In 1929 he qualified as an air pilot after returning to England to visit his family. After getting hold of his own aircraft, a De Havilland Gipsy Moth, he set his sights on flying it back to New Zealand, breaking records in the process. And while he just missed the solo flight to Australia record, his navigational prowess was widely recognised and his taste for adventure was well and truly cemented.

Although he did not serve in the Second World War due to age and eyesight, he worked as an Air Navigation Specialist, using his ground breaking techniques to teach navigation. He stayed in the UK after the war and started his own map-making company.

It was only in 1958 that he turned from aviation to long distance yachting, after recovering from a lung problem. Such was his determination that just two years later he had won the first single-handed transatlantic yacht race.

In 1966 at the age of 65, he undertook his greatest achievement, sailing solo from Plymouth all the way around the world in his yacht, the Gypsy Moth IV, making only a single stop in Sydney, Australia. He set out to beat the best times set by the clipper ships a century earlier. He took 274 days to complete the circumnavigation, (226 days sailing) almost twice as fast as the previous record, and was the very first person to sail it alone.

He returned to a hero’s welcome at Plymouth. Thousands of small boats accompanied Gipsy Moth into the harbour where he was greeted by 250,000 well-wishers, a ten-gun salute, red white and blue water cannons – and his wife and son, who were waiting for him with champagne.

A few weeks later, he was knighted Sir Francis Chichester for “individual achievement and sustained endeavour in the navigation and seamanship of small craft”.

While Henri Lloyd was the perfect choice for his sailing gear owing to our expertise and innovation in waterproofing (which continues to this day), Sir Francis’s colour choice of green for his Consort jacket surprised a few people. Green was traditionally considered unlucky for sailors as it’s not the easiest colour to spot in sea water. When asked about this he simply replied: “who would be there to see me?”

And his underlying motivation for it all?

“Because it intensifies life.”

 

Presented by Cathy McLean

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 28 May 2017 )