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Chichester's Gypsy Moth secure, but not Watson's Pink Lady

by Sail-World Round-up on 1 Nov 2010
Gypsy Moth IV, in which Sir Francis Chichester circumnavigated in 1967 .. .
When a solo sailor inspires a nation, as Sir Francis Chichester did the British with his 1967 solo sailing exploits, or as Jessica Watson did the Australians with her sixteen-year-old solo global sail, there's much regret if their boat is sold to another nation.

It's now been confirmed that Chichester's Gypsy Moth is to remain in Britain, but the jury is still out as to what is to happen to Jessica Watson's yacht Pink Lady.


Chichester's historic yacht which circumnavigated the world more than four decades ago will remain based on the Isle of Wight after it was recently sold to British owners.

There were fears the yacht would be sold to overseas owners after its charity owners had to sell it as it was too expensive to maintain, but the new philanthropic owners have agreed a deal for the UK Sailing Academy charity to keep the vessel to help train young sailors.

The 53ft (16m) ketch will remain at the charity's headquarters in Cowes and a steering committee has been formed to look after it.

'It's lovely to be able to safeguard her future, as well as keeping her sailing' Jon Ely, chief executive at UKSA, told the BBC this week.

The new owners, who wanted to remain anonymous, are believed to have bought the vessel for a six-figure sum. 'We are delighted to be in a position to keep such a historic yacht available to public,' they said in a statement.

Veteran sailor Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who became the first person to sail single-handed and non-stop around the world in 1969, also told the BBC he was delighted. 'It's not just British maritime history, it's global maritime history,' he said.

'This boat is iconic in many ways and should be preserved, and the fact that she's British means that we should be proud of her and keep her in this country.'


Future of Pink Lady not so certain:
However, at the other end of the world, in Jessica Watson's home state of Queensland in Australia, things are not so certain for Jessica Watson's yacht, Pink Lady.

Local member of parliament Steve Dickson has revealed he urged the Queensland Government almost three months ago to buy the pink boat that Jessica Watson sailed solo around the world.

Mr Dickson told the local newspaper Sunshine Coast Daily he had thrown his support behind the government buying Pink Lady and keeping it on the Sunshine Coast as a tourism attraction after being approached by the Watsons.

He said the Buderim family had received offers from the United States, believed to be of at least $1 million, for the history-making vessel.

However, Jessica and her parents Roger and Julie Watson said they would like to see it kept in Queensland and on the Sunshine Coast.

The Daily revealed yesterday that Pink Lady could end up on display in a West Australia maritime museum if the State Government does not step in and buy it.

The price tag is believed to be about $300,000.

Mr Dickson, the State Member for Buderim, said the 10.23 metre pink boat would be a tourist attraction on the Coast.

'I just think it will be a great Aussie icon,' he said.

'It would be such a sad loss if it ends up in the United States or even if it ends up in Western Australia.'

'She has proven to the world if you want to do something then get out and have a go. That is the inspiration that would be passed on by this boat.'

Mr Dickson said he thought the value of keeping Jess’s boat on the Coast was a priceless investment and 'would be the star of any future tourism campaign and the 'jewel in our crown'.

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