Yachting Monthly can exclusively reveal that a buyer in Dubai has expressed an interest in buying Sir Francis Chichester’s ketch, Gipsy Moth IV. It was sold last year but is now on the market again
Gipsy Moth IV, the 53ft yacht which took Sir Francis Chichester around the world in 1966-67, is up for sale, with a buyer in Dubai reported to have expressed an interest.
The yacht, which was saved by Yachting Monthly in 2003, was bought last year by Peter Tom, the chairman of the Rugby Union club, Leicester Tigers, and the owner of the Little Big Hotel group, Ian Walker.
It followed the closure of the Gipsy Moth Trust. The charity, which received the full amount of money for the sale of the boat, shut in 2021 due to a lack of funds because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tom and Walker had planned to relocate the yacht from Buckler’s Hard to St Peter Port, Guernsey last year, where she would have been a working tourist attraction, and been made available to the Guernsey Sailing Trust for educational activities.
But the cost of renovating Gipsy Moth IV and the expected upkeep costs was ‘beyond what was feasible for her new role’ and as a result she remains on the Hamble river while negotiations between the owners and the interested buyer in Dubai continue.
Designed by John Illingworth and Angus Primrose and built in 1965 by Camper & Nicholsons, Gipsy Moth IV made history in 1967, becoming the fastest small vessel to circumnavigate the world.
Sir Francis’ voyage inspired thousands, and more than 250,000 people witnessed his return to Plymouth on 28 May 1967.
Following the circumnavigation, Gipsy Moth IV was lifted out and berthed alongside Cutty Sark in Greenwich, where she was left to slowly rot away.
In 2003, a campaign, initiated by the then Yachting Monthly editor, Paul Gelder, was launched to restore her.
The boat was bought for ‘£1 and a gin and tonic’ by the UKSA which then oversaw the £500,000 restoration carried out by Camper & Nicholsons.
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Gipsy Moth IV went on to complete a second circumnavigation in 2005.
The yacht was bought in 2010 by Elaine Skinner and Rob Thompson, who wanted to keep the boat in the UK ‘as a fundamental part of our sailing history, to make her available for people of all ages to see and sail and to inspire a new generation of young people.’
The Gipsy Moth Trust was launched in July 2011, and since then, over 1,700 people have sailed the yacht.
Gipsy Moth IV has also seen many famous faces on board sailing her including the Princess Royal, Princess Anne, Dame Ellen Macarthur, Mike Golding, Ben Fogle and David Dimbleby.
Gipsy Moth IV was put on the market in February 2021 for £165,000.
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Source: Yachting Monthly