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1967: 'A sense of pride in Sir Francis' achievement'

When Sir Francis Chichester returned to Plymouth nine months and one day after he set off round the world in his boat Gypsy Moth IV he received a rapturous welcome.

The 64-year-old had circumnavigated the world and 28,500 miles of dangerous ocean alone in a record time of 220 days.

He stopped only once, in Sydney, Australia.

Your stories

Don Clarkson and his head salesman and myself went out in a small boat (18 ft)to welcome Sir Francis off Botany bay on or about 26 February 1967.

I have the dubious distinction of being the first person in Australia to speak to him on that day.

We got within 50 feet of Gypsy Moth IV and I called out," Welcome to Australia!!"

"Bloody glad to be here," was the reply.

I had a can of Rech's Dinner Ale in my hand and was about to throw it to him when a police launch appeared between us and was warned off.

We then followed him into a typical Sydney Harbour welcome with thousands of other boats, with Police Boats forward, aft, port and starboard.

Never will I forget that day.
Alan Zammit, Australia

As a child of 10 I have very vivid memories of parking on the heights overlooking Plymouth Sound and watching the incredible fleet of ships with Gypsy Moth IV at their centre gliding into the Sound.

As soon as the flotilla came into view there was a roar of car hooters exploding around us to welcome Sir Francis back home.

At the same time we were listening to the car radio describing the scene we were actually witnessing.

I think the sun was setting by this time in the west, which was the direction that we were facing, and the vivid red of the clouds were reflected off the Sound washing the whole historic scene in a sort of rosy English glow.

There was a sense of excitement and pride in Sir Francis' achievement. I shall never forget the cheering, the noise of car and naval horns, and then the fantastic fireworks over the Sound as he landed.

I am sure it was one of the reasons that I later became a history teacher.
Kevin Heritage, UK

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