Sir Chay Blyth, CBE, BEM, takes his place as Ambassador to the Volvo Ocean Race Legends Regatta next to Lady Pippa Blake who has already confirmed her support for this, the first ever official reunion and regatta. Sir Chay is the second Ambassador to be appointed to the event, which takes place on 1-5 November in Alicante later this year.
Sir Chay was the first person to sail non-stop westwards around the world in 1971 on the 59’ yacht, British Steel, taking 292 days, for which he was awarded a CBE. He openly admits that when he set off in 1970, he knew nothing about navigation or sailing and thought he would teach himself as he went along. The Times in London later described his voyage as ‘the most outstanding passage ever made by one man alone’, and thousands came to greet him on his return.
Blyth’s next challenge was the inaugural Whitbread Round the World Race in 1973-74, the forerunner to what is now the Volvo Ocean Race, where his yacht, Great Britain II won line honours, setting a bench-mark record for the circumnavigation of 144 days. He skippered the same yacht again in 1981-82, the third Whitbread Race, but this time Great Britain II was renamed United Friendly and the 77’ yacht went on to compete in five consecutive Whitbread races, something that is hard to imagine in today’s professional era.
Sir Chay is very much looking forward to event in Spain next year. “I am delighted to be invited to be part of Volvo Ocean Race Legends Regatta. It will be a wonderful opportunity to reunite many old friends and recall the days when racing round the world was an adventure, with the ocean providing one of the last great challenges,” he said.
The Volvo Ocean Race Legends will celebrate the long and varied history of the world’s premier ocean race and includes racing and social events in November this year for all those who have competed or been involved in the event since its inauguration in 1973. It promises to be an occasion not to be missed, with many ex-sailors travelling from all over the world to take part.
About the Volvo Ocean Race Legends Regatta and Reunion
• The first ever official reunion of all who have sailed in the world’s premier ocean race since the inaugural race in 1973-74
• To be held in Alicante, Spain from 1-5 November 2011, week between Alicante In-Port Race and the Start of Leg One of the Volvo Ocean Race
• A full racing schedule over two days
• Will conclude with a departure ceremony and parade of sail to escort the Volvo Ocean Race fleet to the start line for Leg One
• A rich shoreside programme includes a regatta prizegiving, a gala dinner and a host of other social events
• Chat shows and forums after racing
• Legends entries open for public viewing
• 148 boats have crossed the start line in the 37-year history of The Whitbread/Volvo Ocean Race
• 1974 crew competed in the first 10 events
• The first 31,250 nautical-mile race first took place 37 years ago (as the Whitbread Round the World Race 1973-74), testing the crews against some of the most ferocious elements that man can encounter
• The Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 will be the 11th edition of the event
Lady Pippa Blake
Sir Chay Blyth CBE, BEM