There was a full house again at the Club on 16 February to welcome Sir Chay Blyth, one of the country’s most successful round the world sailors, who had come to tell us about his adventures afloat spanning 50 years.

He came at the invitation of the Commodore, following a chance meeting last summer during a sailing holiday in Turkey. Chay knew our own Sir Peter Blake well – they were fellow competitors in a Whitbread Round the World Race – and his visit raised well over £1,200 for the Club’s Blake Memorial Fund.

Chay’s first adventure afloat was in 1966, when with fellow Parachute Regiment soldier John Ridgway he rowed across the Atlantic from Cape Cod to Ireland in a specially adapted open dory.

Five years later, he was on the high seas in a very different type of boat – the ocean racer British Steel, and became the first person to sail non-stop westwards round the world.

Following many other global racing successes, he founded the Challenge Business, which enabled novices to sail round the world in a fleet of boats, with a professional skipper.

Chay guided us through these adventures with a delightfully light touch (“ ... we reached Cape Horn and all we had to do was turn right and sail home”). After warm applause, the Commodore thanked Chay and awarded him Honorary Membership of ESC and a Club tie. He joins three other sailing heroes who have been invited to become Honorary Members after visits to ESC - Sir Ben Ainslie, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, and Dee Cafari.

If you are a keen young sailor and would like support this year from the Sir Peter Blake Fund, look out for announcements on the website and notice boards this month.


Ian McIntyre


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