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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 September 2005, 16:26 GMT 17:26 UK
Famous yacht returns after refit
Gipsy Moth IV
The Gipsy Moth IV underwent a 300,000 refit
The revamped Gipsy Moth IV has sailed back into Greenwich, 38 years after it sailed non-stop around the world.

Sir Francis Chichester's famous yacht was put in dry dock in south London soon after he became the first man to sail around the world single-handedly.

Nearly 40 years in London's rain took its toll on the vessel, which was taken to Hampshire for a 300,000 refit.

Dame Ellen MacArthur and Olympic gold medallist Shirley Robertson sailed it back up the Thames on Wednesday.

The United Kingdom Sailing Academy (UKSA) had campaigned to have it released and restored for sailing.

'Not just a museum piece'

UKSA patron Princess Anne was in Greenwich to officially rededicate the vessel on Wednesday and said it was "wonderful to see her back on the water".

Gipsy Moth IV was returned to its original shipbuilder, Camper and Nicholson's, in Gosport to be made sea-worthy again.

Ms Robertson, who won two Olympic gold medals for sailing, said it was good to see the vessel was "not just a museum piece".

"To look inside her it reminds us of just what an incredible achievement Sir Francis made," she said.

Princess Anne dedicates the Gipsy Moth IV
Princess Anne led the crowd in three cheers

"The original equipment is a world away from what people like me get to use today."

A group of youngsters from Peckham were also at the ceremony on Wednesday, some will be among the amateur crew on its second round-world trip, which leaves Plymouth on 25 September.

It is part of the 40th anniversary of Sir Francis Chichester's epic 29,630-mile voyage, the first solo circumnavigation of the world by sea.

Sir Francis Chichester returned to Plymouth Sound on 7 July 1967, nine months and one day after setting sail round the world.

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 dubbed by the Queen with Sir Francis Drake's sword.

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