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Last Updated: Monday, 28 May 2007, 16:50 GMT 17:50 UK
Rapturous welcome for Gipsy Moth
Gipsy Moth IV arriving in Plymouth
A flotilla of small craft escorted Gipsy Moth IV to West Hoe pier
Gipsy Moth IV was given a rapturous welcome as it sailed into Plymouth, 40 years to the day after its first circumnavigation of the world.

On 28 May 1967, after 274 days at sea, sailing legend Sir Francis Chichester brought the 53ft (16m) ocean-battered ketch into Plymouth Sound.

This time the yacht was crewed by teams of disadvantaged young people on its repeat 30,000-mile (48,300km) odyssey.

Thousands of people, many dressed in 1960s clothing, watched the arrival.

The young people on board, Grant McCade, 16, from Plymouth, 18-year-old Kerry Prideaux from Lynton in Devon, and Glen Austin, 18, from the Isle of Wight are the last of 90 who, since the vessel left Plymouth in September 2005, have helped experienced skippers sail Gipsy Moth IV around the world over 30 legs.

You just can't imagine the sunsets and the sunrises - just beautiful
Kerry Prideaux

Kerry Prideaux described the experience as "just incredible".

"We've had some pretty nasty weather out there, but then we've had some beautiful things to see," she told BBC News.

"You just can't imagine the sunsets and the sunrises - just beautiful.

"And the dolphins - we saw loads of dolphins - it was just incredible."

Gipsy Moth IV
53ft (16m) long
Ketch design
Built at Camper and Nicholsons, Gosport
Launched March 1966
Constructed of cold-moulded Honduras Mahogany

Grant McCabe said despite his homesickness, it had been a life-changing experience.

"I'm glad it's over because we've had some rough weather, but overall it's been a life-changing experience," he said

"Halfway through the voyage I was missing home a lot. It's the first time I've ever been abroad and the first time I've been so far away from home with none of my family or friends.

"But overall it helped me start conquering my self confidence."

Also in Plymouth to welcome the ketch home at West Hoe pier was Giles Chichester - son of Sir Francis.

Gipsy Moth IV was escorted in past Plymouth breakwater by fire tugs, lifeboats and a flotilla of small craft, with the event being relayed via a giant video wall to the thousands of people gathered on Plymouth Hoe.

Crowds lining Plymouth Hoe to welcome Gipsy Moth IV
Thousands of people were on the Hoe to welcome the yacht back

A fly-over by the original Gypsy Moth bi-plane which met Sir Francis Chichester in 1967 was cancelled because of poor weather conditions prior to the arrival of the yacht.

The voyage was organised by the UK Sailing Academy (UKSA) which restored the craft at a cost of about 300,000 after it had spent almost 37 years in dry dock in Greenwich. The yacht was sold for 1 and a gin and tonic.

The latest circumnavigation was marred only when Gipsy Moth IV was holed on a reef in the Pacific, undergoing repairs in New Zealand before being shipped to Sydney, Australia.

UKSA spokeswoman Anna Symocox said crew had been overwhelmed by the welcome they received.

"It has been a stunning day," she said.

"There was a huge flotilla of boats to welcome them home and the crowds that lined the Hoe was just like it was in 1967 with railings full of people and 'three cheers' for the Gipsy Moth echoing around Plymouth Hoe.

"The boat is itself looking remarkably well for having gone around the world - the crew have done a great job of looking after it."

Drake's sword

She said Gipsy Moth IV, based in Cowes, Isle of Wight, would in future be a familiar sight in the Solent - with people able to charter her to take trips on one of the world's most famous craft.

Sir Francis Chichester returned to Plymouth Sound in 1967, nine months and one day after setting sail round the world.

The journey was the first true solo circumnavigation via the three Capes of Hope, Leeuwin and Horn, making only one stop.

Thousands of small boats were waiting to accompany the 65-year-old yachtsman back to port, where he was given a 10-gun salute from the Royal Artillery.

The adventurer was later knighted by the Queen with Sir Francis Drake's sword.

Gipsy Moth's legacy meets a new generation

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