Please select your home edition
Edition
Musto 2017 728x90 Superhuman

Sir Chay Blyth returns to the Hamble to celebrate 50th anniversary of his solo circumnavigation

by Barry Pickthall 7 Aug 07:24 BST 6 August 2021
Welcome return from Commodore Robert Vose, as Sir Chay Blyth steps ashore at the Royal Southern Yacht Club on the Hamble, 50 years after his record-setting solo non-stop West-about circumnavigation © Barry Pickthall / PPL

British yachtsman Sir Chay Blyth returned to the Hamble on Friday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his victorious return to the UK at the end of a pioneering 292-day solo non-stop west-about circumnavigation against the prevailing winds and currents aboard his 59ft ketch rigged yacht British Steel.

A large crowd gathered at the Royal Southern Yacht Club to welcome his return, including fellow pioneer solo circumnavigator Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, and Mike Golding who was the first to break Sir Chay's record 23 years later. The fact that only 5 sailors have managed to complete the same 'wrong way' voyage in the 50 years, against the 140 who have sailed East-about with the prevailing winds, underlines the enormity of Blyth's feat 50 years ago when yachts were not equipped with roller furling, GPS navigation, poor communications and only rudimentary self-steering. Blyth's wind vane self steering was smashed in a storm off Cape Horn, and Blyth had to steer his 59ft yacht by hand for the remaining 20,000 miles.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said today: "Francis Chichester, Alec Rose, myself and Chay were the pathfinders when the Brits dominated this form of ocean sailing, which led to a lot of people taking up the sport."

Mike Golding, a former fireman who has completed 6 circumnavigations is one of these. "Sir Chay's voyage excited me enough to get sailing and has shaped my career ever since. The continuing success achieved this last week by Team GB sailors at the Tokyo Olympics may not have been nearly so good had these pioneers like Sir Chay and Sir Robin not excited so many to buy boats and get afloat, for it is their children or grandchildren that are now leading the charge in international sailing. We have a great deal to thank them and today is mark in the history of our sport."

View historic video footage of the original voyage here.

Related Articles

Circumnavigation Record Attempt kicks off
Norbert Sedlacek sets sail on his lifetime mission to set a world record Today at 11:10 am the entire Innovation Yachts team, fans, colleagues and sailing aficionados saw innovator and skipper Norbert Sedlacek set sail on his lifetime mission to set a world record, unassisted, single-handed and nonstop around the world. Posted on 16 Aug
Sir Chay Blyth 50th anniversary celebrations
A parade of sail will take place up the Hamble River Sir Chay Blyth returns to the Hamble to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his pioneering solo non-stop west-about circumnavigation back in 1971 aboard the 59ft ketch British Steel. Posted on 2 Aug
Spirit of Adventure 'Mayflower' project
Getting disadvantaged young people sailing in Plymouth A new project hopes to give more than 350 disadvantaged children in Plymouth an exciting and unique opportunity, and a crowdfunding page has been launched to help make it a reality. Posted on 13 Feb 2020
Last-chance auction for project boats from £1
Boat auction, jumble and water fun day at Blackwater Marina Dozens of project boats at Blackwater Marina at Maylandsea are being given a last chance by auctioning them off on Sunday October 7 with three months free storage included with every boat sold. 6% of all proceeds going to three charities. Posted on 21 Sep 2018
Norbert Sedlacek stops his record attempt
Single-handed non-stop circumnavigation postponed Skipper Norbert Sedlacek has decided to stop his record attempt this morning at 10.30 a.m. westerly of Ireland and to come back to the port of departure, Les Sables d'Olonne. Posted on 1 Aug 2018
Bala Massacre and Exmoor Beastie cancelled
Wild winds and temperatures below zero make events impossible Unfortunately the Bala Massacre 3 hour pursuit race has had to be cancelled due to some severe weather forecasts. We have waited as long as we can but I am sorry to say we have had to pull the plug on the Exmoor Beastie too. Posted on 16 Mar 2018
West of Scotland Boat Jumble to be held in Irvine
For the benefit of local community groups For the third year in succession the organisers are pleased to announce that the Autumn event will again take place on Sunday 2 October starting at 10 am. at the Scottish Maritime Museum Wharf, The Harbourside, Irvine. Posted on 30 Jul 2016
Classics destroyed in Cowes fire
Around 30 yachts and dayboats lost A fire at a boatyard in West Cowes on the Isle of Wight yesterday, Monday January 25, has seen the destruction of around 30 yachts and one-design dayboats, including many irreplaceable classics. Posted on 26 Jan 2016
Franck Cammas recovering
After training accident in Quiberon Franck Cammas, the skipper of Groupama Team France, is recovering following surgery on his leg after a training accident. Posted on 1 Dec 2015
Franck Cammas seriously injured
During America's Cup training in Quiberon During America's Cup training today in Quiberon, France, Franck Cammas, skipper of Groupama Team France, was seriously wounded in the right leg. Posted on 30 Nov 2015