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    Sale 5386


    21 May 2008, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 96

    Montague Dawson, R.S.M.A., F.R.S.A. (1895-1973)

    Gipsy Moth (IV) in heavy weather off Cape Horn, running under a storm trysail

    Price Realised  


    Montague Dawson, R.S.M.A., F.R.S.A. (1895-1973)
    Gipsy Moth (IV) in heavy weather off Cape Horn, running under a storm trysail
    signed 'Montague. Dawson' (lower left)
    oil on board
    18 x 24 in. (45.7 x 61 cm.)

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    This is similar, but smaller, to a work that appears in Ramsey's book Montague Dawson (no. 127), that was once in the collection of Sir Francis Chichester.

    Although [Sir] Francis Chichester (1901-72) had turned to yachting as a recreation after the Second World War, it was only when he won the first single-handed Transatlantic Race in 1960 that his name became known to the British public. He won that race in 1960 and again in 1962 - on which occasion he set a new record of 33½ days - with his 39-foot sloop Gipsy Moth (III) and then, after narrowly missing victory for the third time in 1964, decided to embark upon a plan he had been considering for some time, namely to equal or beat single-handedly the average passage times of the celebrated nineteenth century clippers on the Australia run.

    Realising that he needed a new yacht for this challenge, he asked Illingworth & Primrose to design him a ketch and, named Gipsy Moth (IV), she was built by Camper & Nicholson at Gosport in 1966. Registered at 16 tons gross (13½ net & 19 Thames), she measured 50 feet in length overall with a 10½ foot beam and was equipped with a Perkins' 36shp. oil engine for harbour use. As soon as she was ready for sea, Chichester prepared for departure and sailed from Plymouth to Sydney non-stop in 107 days. From Sydney he went on to complete a circumnavigation of the globe and returned to Plymouth in an astonishing overall time of 274 days, including 48 spent in Syndey resting and making ready for the homeward leg of his epic journey. From Plymouth, he sailed Gipsy Moth (IV) around the coast and up the Thames to Greenwich where the Queen knighted him using the very same sword which her ancestor Elizabeth I had used to dub Sir Francis Drake in 1581. Gipsy Moth (IV) herself was subsequently preserved and, after recent restoration, is now back in her dock at Greenwich near the Cutty Sark.

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