How Long Did Francis Chichester Take to Sail Around the World?

Francis Chichester, a British aviator and sailor, made history by completing the first solo circumnavigation of the globe by boat. His incredible journey took place from August 27, 1966, to May 28, 1967. Let’s dive deeper into the details of this remarkable feat!

The Challenge

Undertaking a solo trip around the world is no small task. It requires immense skill, endurance, and determination. Chichester’s adventure was no exception.

Preparing for the Journey

Before embarking on his epic voyage, Chichester spent months preparing himself and his boat, Gipsy Moth IV. He made several modifications to ensure both his safety and the efficiency of the vessel.

Modifications to Gipsy Moth IV

  • Stability: Chichester added ballast tanks to enhance stability during rough seas.
  • Sails: He equipped Gipsy Moth IV with smaller sails that were easier to handle alone.
  • Self-steering: An innovative self-steering system was installed to assist Chichester when he needed rest.
  • Communication: Chichester had access to a radio transmitter and receiver for communication during emergencies.

The Voyage Begins

On August 27, 1966, Francis Chichester set sail from Plymouth, England. His plan was to circumnavigate the world in an easterly direction via Cape Horn.

The Route

Chichester’s route took him through various oceans and countries:

  • The Atlantic Ocean: He sailed down the Atlantic Ocean towards Africa.
  • The Indian Ocean: Chichester continued his journey across the Indian Ocean, passing by Australia and New Zealand.
  • The Pacific Ocean: The next leg of his voyage saw him crossing the vast Pacific Ocean, where he encountered treacherous storms.
  • Cape Horn: Chichester rounded Cape Horn, the southernmost tip of South America, known for its challenging weather conditions.
  • The Atlantic Return: Finally, he sailed back across the Atlantic Ocean to complete his journey at Plymouth.

Achieving the Record

Chichester’s incredible determination and seamanship helped him set a new record for circumnavigating the world alone. He completed the journey in an astonishing 226 days!

The Final Stretch

As Chichester approached Plymouth on May 28, 1967, thousands of people gathered to welcome him back. His solo circumnavigation had captured the imagination of people worldwide.


Francis Chichester’s achievement left an indelible mark on history. His record-breaking voyage inspired many other sailors to attempt similar feats.

Gipsy Moth IV Today

Gipsy Moth IV is now preserved at Greenwich in London as a testament to Chichester’s remarkable feat. It serves as a reminder of his courage and determination.

In conclusion, Francis Chichester’s solo circumnavigation of the globe aboard Gipsy Moth IV was an extraordinary achievement. His meticulous preparations and unwavering spirit allowed him to conquer immense challenges and set a new benchmark in sailing history.

Photo of author

Emma Gibson