A father and son who both belong to Penarth Yacht Club have had the honour of crewing “Gipsy Moth IV” – the famous 54 foot yacht which was sailed singled-handed around the world by Sir Francis Chichester.
Mike Tarver and his son Sean crewed “Gipsy Moth” on the final leg – from Dartmouth to Plymouth – of the historic yacht’s 50th Anniversary Round-Britain voyage.
Gipsy Moth (named after the late Sir Francis Chichester’s early bi-plane) bore the famous solo sailor around the world starting out from Plymouth in 1966 and returning to Plymouth 226 days later . Fifty years ago he received a huge welcome with live tv coverage on his arrival – becoming the first solo sailor to circumnavigate the world on the old sailing clipper routes.
Afterwards Sir Francis said of Gipsy Moth the boat held no sentimental value for him: “I only own the stern while my cousin owns two-thirds. My part, I would sell any day. It would be better if about a third were sawn off. The boat was too big for me. She is cantankerous and difficult and needs a crew of three – a man to navigate, an elephant to move the tiller and a chimpanzee to get about below and work some of the gear.”
However after Sir Francis’s death at the age of 71 in 1972 – Gipsy Moth IV was put on public display but later acquired and saved for posterity by the Gipsy Moth Trust Ltd of which Mr Michael Tarver is a member.