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Sir Charles Blyth
|Born||14 May 1940|
|Known for||First person to sail single-handed non-stop westwards around the world|
Sir Charles "Chay" Blyth CBE BEM (born 14 May 1940 ) is a Scottish yachtsman and rower. He was the first person to sail single-handed non-stop westwards around the world (1971), on a 59-foot boat called British Steel .
The British Empire Medal is a British medal awarded for meritorious civil or military service worthy of recognition by the Crown. The current honour was created in 1922 to replace the original medal, which had been established in 1917 as part of the Order of the British Empire.
A yacht is a watercraft used for pleasure or sports. The term originates from the Dutch word jacht, and was originally referencing light fast sailing vessels that the Dutch Republic navy used to pursue pirates and other transgressors around and into the shallow waters of the Low Countries. The yacht was popularized by Charles II of England as a pleasure or recreation vessel following his restoration in 1660.
British Steel is a 59 ft ketch famous for a circumnavigation of the globe "the wrong way" by Chay Blyth in 1970/71.
Blyth was born in Hawick, Roxburghshire. He joined the British Army Parachute Regiment when he was 18 and was promoted to Sergeant at the age of 21.
Hawick is a town in the Scottish Borders council area and historic county of Roxburghshire in the east Southern Uplands of Scotland. It is 10.0 miles (16.1 km) south-west of Jedburgh and 8.9 miles (14.3 km) south-southeast of Selkirk. It is one of the farthest towns from the sea in Scotland, in the heart of Teviotdale, and the biggest town in the former county of Roxburghshire. Hawick's architecture is distinctive in that it has many sandstone buildings with slate roofs. The town is at the confluence of the Slitrig Water with the River Teviot. Hawick is known for its yearly Common Riding, for its rugby team Hawick Rugby Football Club and for its knitwear industry.
Roxburghshire or the County of Roxburgh is a historic county and registration county in the Southern Uplands of Scotland. It borders Dumfriesshire to the west, Selkirkshire to the north-west, and Berwickshire to the north. To the south-west it borders Cumberland and to the south-east Northumberland, both in England.
The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of British Armed Forces. As of 2018, the British Army comprises just over 81,500 trained regular (full-time) personnel and just over 27,000 trained reserve (part-time) personnel.
In 1966, whilst in the army, Blyth, together with Captain John Ridgway, rowed across the North Atlantic in a 20 ft open dory called English Rose III. After successfully completing this in 92 days, Blyth was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM).
John Ridgway MBE, is a British yachtsman and rower.
A dory is a small, shallow-draft boat, about 5 to 7 metres or 16 to 23 feet long. It is usually a lightweight boat with high sides, a flat bottom and sharp bows. They are easy to build because of their simple lines. For centuries, dories have been used as traditional fishing boats, both in coastal waters and in the open sea.
In 1968, with no sailing experience, he competed in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, aboard a 30 ft yacht called Dytiscus retiring just past the Cape of Good Hope. Author Peter Nichols wrote that, "Few people leaving a dock for an afternoon sail in a dinghy have cast off with less experience than Chay Blyth had when he set sail alone around the world".
The Sunday Times Golden Globe Race was a non-stop, single-handed, round-the-world yacht race, held in 1968–1969, and was the first round-the-world yacht race. The race was controversial due to the failure of most competitors to finish the race and because of the suicide of one entrant; however, it ultimately led to the founding of the BOC Challenge and Vendée Globe round-the-world races, both of which continue to be successful and popular.
The Cape of Good Hope is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula in South Africa.
In 1971, Blyth became the first person to sail non-stop westwards around the world, aboard the yacht British Steel , taking 292 days, and as a result was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).
The first around the world sailing record for circumnavigation of the world was Juan Sebastián Elcano and the remaining members of Ferdinand Magellan's crew who completed their journey in 1522. The first solo record was set by Joshua Slocum in the Spray (1898).
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry, rewarding contributions to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organisations, and public service outside the civil service. It was established on 4 June 1917 by King George V and comprises five classes across both civil and military divisions, the most senior two of which make the recipient either a knight if male or dame if female. There is also the related British Empire Medal, whose recipients are affiliated with, but not members of, the order.
In 1973, Blyth skippered a crew of paratroopers in the yacht Great Britain II, which took line honours in the 3rd stage of the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race, and in 1978 won the Round Britain Race in the yacht Great Britain IV 1981 - Entered the Whitbread race again in the yacht “United Friendly” and was the first British yacht to finish.
1981 – On the yacht “Brittany Ferries GB” won the Two Handed Trans Atlantic Race with Co Skipper Rob James in record time. Came second again in the Round the Island Race (IoW).
1982 – Came second overall and first in class in The Round Britain and Ireland Race on “Brittany Ferries GB”.
1984 – Capsized off Cape Horn aboard the trimaran “Beefeater II” whilst attempting the New York – San Francisco record attempt with Eric Blunn. Rescued by passing fishing boat after 19 hours in the water.
He was co-skipper with Richard Branson on Virgin Atlantic Challenger I and Virgin Atlantic Challenger II in 1985 and 1986 respectively, before founding the Challenge Business to organise the 1992/1993 British Steel Challenge in 1989. This event allowed novices to sail around the world in a professionally organised race.
The British Steel Challenge was followed by two successive BT Global Challenge races in 1996/7 and 2000/2001. However, a downturn in the sponsorship market meant that the 2004/2005 Global Challenge race set off without a title sponsor.
Sir Chay started the company Challenge Business, to operate first the British Steel Challenge 1992—93 and then the Global Challenge Round the World yacht races. The success of the British Steel Challenge carved the way for the future success of the Global Challenge races.
Sir Chay is chairman of Inspiring Performance. He also heads the board of directors at train company First Great Western – Greater Western franchise. He is non executive chairman of the franchise which was formed to run the new and enlarged franchise from 1 April 2006. The franchise combines the previous First Great Western, First Great Western Link and Wessex Trains franchises.
As chairman of Challenge Business, he was the mentor for Dee Caffari on her successful bid to be the first woman to sail around the world against the prevailing winds and currents in 2005–2006.
Sir Peter James Blake was a New Zealand yachtsman who won the 1989–1990 Whitbread Round the World Race, held the Jules Verne Trophy from 1994 to 1997 by setting the fastest time around the world as co-skipper of ENZA New Zealand, and led his country to successive victories in the America's Cup.
Bruce Kenneth Farr, OBE, is a highly successful designer of racing and cruising yachts. Farr‑designed boats have won, challenged for, or placed highly in the Whitbread Round the World Race, America's Cup, and Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, among others.
Sir Alec Rose was a nursery owner and fruit merchant in England who after serving in the Royal Navy during World War II developed a passion for amateur single-handed sailing. He took part in the second single-handed Atlantic race in 1964 and circumnavigated the globe single-handedly in 1967-68, for which he was knighted. His boat Lively Lady is still seaworthy and is used for sail training by a charity.
Bradley William Butterworth,, is a yachtsman known for the role he played as tactician and skipper in the America's Cup for Team New Zealand and the Alinghi team of Switzerland.
The Global Challenge was a round the world yacht race run by Challenge Business, the company started by Sir Chay Blyth in 1989. It was held every four years, and took a fleet of one-design steel yachts, crewed by ordinary men and women who have paid to take part, round Cape Horn and through the Southern Ocean where winds can reach 70 kn (130 km/h). The fee for the last race proposed was £28,750. It was unique in that the race took the westabout route around the world against prevailing winds and currents - often referred to as the ‘wrong way’ route.
Sir William Robert Patrick "Robin" Knox-JohnstonRD and bar is a British sailor. In 1969, he became the first person to perform a single-handed non-stop circumnavigation of the globe. Along with Sir Peter Blake, he won the second Jules Verne Trophy, for which they were also named the ISAF Yachtsman of the Year award. In 2007, at the age of 67, he set a record as the oldest yachtsman to complete a round the world solo voyage in the Velux 5 Oceans Race.
Dame Naomi Christine James, DBE is the first woman to have sailed single-handed around the world via Cape Horn, the second woman to have ever sailed solo around the world. She departed Dartmouth, Devon on 9 September 1977 and finished her voyage around the globe on 8 June 1978 after 272 days, thus improving Sir Francis Chichester's solo round-the-world sailing record by two days.
Mike Golding is an English yachtsman, born in Great Yarmouth and educated at Reading Blue Coat School. He is one of the few yachtsmen to have raced round the world non stop in both directions. He held the solo record for sailing round the world westabout between 1994 and 2000.
Paul Pierre Cayard is an American yachtsman and professional sailor. He has competed at multiple world championship level sailing events, including the America's Cup, the Whitbread Round the World Race,the Volvo Ocean Race and the Olympic Games. In 1998 he was selected as the US Rolex Yachtsmen of the Year. He has won seven world championships, twice participated in the Olympic Games and seven times in the America's Cup. In 2002 he was elected into the Sailing World Hall of Fame.
Eugene Platon is an international yachtsman, participant of a number of world class sailing events, including the most prestigious Volvo Ocean Race.
David Scott Cowper is a British yachtsman, and was the first man to sail solo round the world in both directions and was also the first to successfully sail around the world via the Northwest Passage single-handed.
Conrad David Humphreys is a professional yachtsman, adventurer and motivational speaker. Conrad has competed in three round the world races, two fully crewed and one single handed He has also competed in the Transat (2004), the Route du Rhum, the Transat Jacques Vabre (2003), the Archipelago Raid (2008-2011) the Extreme Sailing Series (2005-7) and La Solitaire du Figaro (2011).
Cornelis "Conny" van Rietschoten was a Dutch yacht skipper who was the only skipper to win the Whitbread Round the World Race twice.
Great Britain II is a Maxi racing yacht launched by Princess Anne on 21 May 1973 named after the SS Great Britain, built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel which was the world's first "iron clad" steam ship and whose salvage from the Falklands was underwritten by Sir Jack Hayward, who also funded the building of GB II.
Stuart Jackson is a Scottish yachtsman. He attained 2nd place as skipper of the Barclays Adventurer in the 2004/05 Global Challenge, owns the Aurora of London and skippered the De Lage Landen in the Clipper Round the World 11-12.
Neal McDonald is a British sailor who has competed in seven Volvo Ocean Races.
Ross Field is a New Zealand sailor who has competed in multiple Whitbread Round the World Races.
Maiden is a 58 foot (18 m) aluminium ocean racing yacht built in 1979, designed by Bruce Farr and raced by Pierre Fehlmann, Bertie Reed and Tracy Edwards. Edwards bought the yacht in 1987 to compete in the 1989–90 Whitbread Round the World Race with an all-female crew. The yacht achieved good results, broke records, led to Edwards becoming the first female winner of the Yachtsman of the Year Trophy, and changed the perception of women in ocean racing.