Single-handed Circumnavigation

François Gabart: French sailor slashes around the world solo record

Eyemouth Harbour

Eyemouth Harbour in the Sixties

When I read this article, it took me right back to my time as a ten year-old when I lived in a fishing village in Berwickshire whose lifeline was the sea. In Eyemouth, everybody was connected to the harbour in some way. We all knew, or were related to, somebody on one of the Seine-netters that made Eyemouth such a busy place.

This is why we admired the achievement of Francis Chichester so much. He sailed around the world single-handed in his yacht, Gypsy Moth IV. It took him 266 days. We watched him cross the line as he sailed into Plymouth. A few days later, he sailed up the Thames to Greenwich and was deservedly knighted by the Her Majesty The Queen.

At the time, which was before man stepped onto the moon, Sir Francis’s escapade was phenomenal. Now, even though the technology of seamanship has evolved beyond all recognition, it puts François Gabart‘s voyage in perspective. What he has done, against the elements, is truly amazing!

Original post:

A French sailor has set a new world record for the fastest solo round-the-world navigation, beating the previous time by more than six days.


MACIF – François Gabart

François Gabart finished his circuit of the globe early on Sunday, in a time of 42 days, 16 hours, 40 minutes and 35 seconds.

He completed the journey non-stop, confined to his trimaran sailing yacht since 4 November.

Gabart broke the record set by his countryman Thomas Coville last year.

The record was held at one stage by British national Dame Ellen MacArthur.

Gabart’s new record has yet to be verified by the World Sailing Speed Record Council, which will check the ship’s GPS data before confirming the result.

As a reminder, here is what I witnessed 42 years ago.

On 27 August 1966 Chichester sailed his ketch Gipsy Moth IV from Plymouth in the United Kingdom and returned there after 226 days of sailing on 28 May 1967, having circumnavigated the globe, with one stop (in Sydney). By doing so, he became the first person to achieve a true circumnavigation of the world solo from West to East via the great Capes. The voyage was also a race against the clock, as Chichester wanted to beat the typical times achieved by the fastest fully crewed clipper ships during the heyday of commercial sail in the 19th century (the first recorded solo circumnavigation of the globe was achieved by Joshua Slocum in 1898 but it took him three years with numerous stops – Slocum also took up the harder challenge of sailing east to west, against the prevailing wind).

Gipsy Moth IV

Gypsy Moth IV – Sir Francis Chichester


About Lance Greenfield

Blog: email: I published my debut novel in December 2014: Eleven Miles. My second novel went live in February 2016: Knitting Can Walk!
This entry was posted in sailing and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Single-handed Circumnavigation

  1. Pingback: Single-handed Circumnavigation | Thoughts by Mello-Elo

  2. Losing the Plot says:

    It make you think doesn’t it? We are capable of great things when we set our minds to a thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Anindya says:

    Nice to read about such a feat being getting done again….ambitious and inspiring….thanks for sharing


  4. Flossie says:

    Wow – I can’t even imagine this! Certainly an inspiring story for human being against the elements, and human ingenuity!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. arv! says:

    Very interesting and inspiring.:)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I can’t begin to imagine how demanding that challenge would be in so many ways. I have the utmost respect and admiration for people like Francis Chichester and Francois Gabart. Very interesting post, Lance 🙂


  7. I have always wanted to sail and I do remember learning about Francis Chichester and the Gypsy Moth at school from a geography teacher – who also happened to be a sailor! Dame Ellen is the record holder that is a stand out for me – probably for being (I think) the first woman…..really interesting post, Lance – will have a look at your links!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Heidi Love says:

    A truly amazing achievement. I love to follow circumnavigations, each one an incredible feat. I also enjoyed Jessica Watson posts, conveying her perseverance and passion, and was humbled to be in St. Martin when Laura Dekker pulled in. Thanks so much for sharing, and if you too are a sailor—Fair Winds!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I went to a naval school, HMS Conway, and spent some time in the Royal Navy. The majority 16 years) of my service was in the Army, Royal Engineers.
      I love sailing and all aspects of seamanship, even being cold and soaked to the skin, Crazy! 😂


  9. Lisa Orchard says:

    Very ambitious feat! Congrats for accomplishing it! I’ve never been sailing like that, but I’d sure like to try it sometime! 🙂


  10. josypheen says:

    This is sooo cool! It must have been pretty scary and hard at some points, but what an achievement!

    I work in the mechanical engineering department at UBC, a group of students created a sail bot who has broken records for the furthest autonomous sailing – I was really impressed with that as well.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s