The iconic Gipsy Moth IV is setting sail from Cowes, Isle of Wight, ready to take her place in another momentous event in Britainâ€™s maritime history, the Diamond Jubilee Pageant.
Â The 54ft vessel that Sir Francis Chichester sailed single-handedly round the world in 1967 will take almost four days to sail from the Isle of Wight to St Katharine Docks on the Thames where sheâ€™ll be moored alongside Tower Bridge.
Â While Chichester may have been a ripe old 64 when he set sail on his epic journey, the crew on board Gipsy Moth IV for its latest passage are almost half a century younger. Maritime youth charity UKSA, which manages the yacht on behalf of the Gipsy Moth Trust, has selected a crew of aspiring young sailors for the unique experience of sailing the famous vessel.
Once the yacht reaches its destination in the capital on Sunday 27 May, it will stay there for a fortnight over the period of the Pageant. While in London there will be opportunities for members of the public to view the boat in St Katherine Docks, and also the unique chance to sail on board such an iconic vessel.
Â On the day of the Pageant itself, Gipsy Moth IV will be moored in the lock at St Katherine Docks as part of the Avenue of Sail, made up of sailing yachts that are unable to fit beneath many of the Thamesâ€™ bridges with the rest of the flotilla.
Â The boat has a strong association with London having spent several decades in a concrete dry dock in Greenwich alongside the Cutty Sark. That stint left the yacht in a poor state of repair but thanks to a campaign by Yachting Monthly and a partnership with UKSA, Gipsy Moth IV was restored to her former glory in 2005. The boat is now owned by the Gipsy Moth Trust, who are committed to preserving the boat, allowing people to view her and provide sailing opportunities for young people.
Â Luke McCarthy, UKSA project manager for Gipsy Moth IV, said: â€śThis is an incredibly exciting journey for the great yacht. Having played such an important role in Britainâ€™s maritime heritage, itâ€™s fitting that sheâ€™s now going to take pride of place in the Queenâ€™s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
Â â€śFor those on board it is a truly extraordinary opportunity to sail the actual boat that broke so many records and set new standards in the maritime world. Only sailing her do you really appreciate the full extent of Chichesterâ€™s incredible feat.
Â â€śAt UKSA we are dedicated to helping young people achieve their ambitions by providing them with exceptional opportunities to learn new skills through water-based experiences. The chance to sail Sir Francis Chichesterâ€™s yacht to our monarchâ€™s jubilee celebrations is about as exceptional as they come.â€ť
Â Among the crew on board for the passage to London will be Jacob Fincham, 19 from Bembridge. Thanks to the opportunities and encouragement provided by UKSA, Jacob has discovered a passion for the sea and is now pursuing an ambition for a career on the water. Jacob will also be joined by a team of Isle of Wight Sea Cadets