On this day in history : 6th August 1971 – British yachtsman Chay Blyth docks his yacht at Hamble on the South Coast, becoming the first to sail non-stop around the world the ‘wrong-way’ – from east to west….
Chay had set off from Hamble in Hampshire on the 18th of October 1970, onboard his specially designed 59ft ketch ‘British Steel’….so named because of his backing by the British Steel Corporation….
Sir Francis Chichester had commented that he thought the voyage was impossible…. Chay completed the 30,000 miles, against prevailing winds and currents in 292 days….it became known as ‘the impossible voyage’…. It was also the fastest non-stop round the world voyage….
On his return Chay was met by a welcoming party consisting of a flotilla of 200 boats and 6,000 well-wishers, among them the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, Princess Anne and Prime Minister Edward Heath….
Chay was later awarded a CBE and was voted ‘Yachtsman of the Year’ by the Yachting Journalists Association…. He was also named as ‘Man of the Year’….