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Chay Blyth THE IMPOSSIBLE VOYAGE First Edition Signed

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First edition, first print hardback of his own fantastic story of the first ever solo non-stop wrong way round the world sail against winds and current, published by Hodder and Stoughton in 1971. Signed by Blyth on the title page
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First edition, first print hardback of THE IMPOSSIBLE VOYAGE - His own fantastic story of the first ever solo non-stop wrong way round the world sail against winds and current by Chay Blyth and published by Hodder and Stoughton Limited, London in 1971. Signed by Blyth on the title page.

The book is in very good condition (Clean dark green cloth boards with gilt lettering on spine and blue speckled page ends) with very light wear to the pictorial dust jacket, which is price clipped (minor creasing to the edges, slight chipping to top spine edges, faint rubbing to the corners, bit of tanning/ foxing inside the jacket). Internally, the pages are clean and tight and there are no tears and no other inscriptions.

First across the line in the Whitbread Round the World Race, Chay Blyth and his crew of paras abroad Great Britain II equalled the record of the famous grain clippers. They had sailed around the world in 144 days covering approximately 27.570 miles in four gruelling stages - Portsmouth to Cape Town, to Sidney, to Rio and back to Portsmouth.

The race itself was extremely tough; three competitors were drowned, many more injured, and several boats, including the much favoured Eric Tabarly's Pen Duick VI, were severely damaged. Chay Blyth set sail with a crew of twelve and returned with nine.

Blyth was born in Hawick, Roxburghshire. He joined the British Army Parachute Regiment when he was 18 and rose quickly through the ranks to become a Sergeant at the age of 21. In 1966, whilst in the Army, Blyth, together with Captain John Ridgway, rowed across the North Atlantic in a 20 ft open dory called English Rose III.

After successfully completing this in 92 days Blyth was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM). In 1968, with no sailing experience, he competed in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, aboard a 30 ft yacht called Dytiscus retiring just past the Cape of Good Hope. In 1971 Blyth became the first person to sail non-stop westwards around the world, aboard the yacht British Steel, taking 292 days, and as a result was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE).

In 1973, Blyth skippered a crew of paratroopers in the yacht Great Britain II, which took line honours in the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race, and in 1978 won the Round Britain Race in the yacht Great Britain IV 1981 - Entered the Whitbread race again in the yacht “United Friendly” and was the first British yacht to finish. 1981 – On the yacht “Brittany Ferries GB” won the Two Handed Trans Atlantic Race with Co Skipper Rob James in record time.

Came second again in the Round the Island Race (IoW). 1982 – Came second overall and first in class in The Round Britain and Ireland Race on “Brittany Ferries GB”. 1984 – Capsized off Cape Horn aboard the trimaran “Beefeater II” whilst attempting the New York – San Francisco record attempt with Eric Blunn. Rescued by passing fishing boat after 19 hours in the water.

He was co-skipper with Richard Branson on Virgin Atlantic Challenger I and Virgin Atlantic Challenger II in 1985 and 1986 respectively, before founding the Challenge Business to organise the 1992/1993 British Steel Challenge in 1989. This event allowed novices to sail around the world in a professionally organised race. The British Steel Challenge was followed by two successive BT Global Challenge races in 1996/7 and 2000/2001. However, a downturn in the sponsorship market meant that the 2004/2005 Global Challenge race set off without a title sponsor.

In 1997, Blyth was created a Knight Bachelor by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to sailing.

Chay Blyth is the author of number of books, including: A fighting chance, 1967, Innocent Aboard, 1970, The Impossible Voyage, 1971, Theirs is the Glory, 1974, The Challenge: The Official Story of the British Steel Challenge, 1993.

"Chay Blyth sailed round the world, single handed against the wind - the longest windward sail in history - in a small boat, 59 feet long, made of British steel. The skill of a century of shipbuilding were concentrated into British Steel, which in 30,000 miles almost continuous up-hill sailing, encountered a more severe battering than most other large yachts encounter in ten years.

The courage and determination concentrated into lone sailor Chay Blyth makes The Impossible Voyage compulsive reading. There were good days, fine and clear. And days of near-disaster, when he fought the full force of the Westerlies in the Roaring Forties; when his self-steering gear broke beyond repair; his running booms were shattered; and he gashed his forehead deeply when thrown by enormous seas. The worst storm on the voyage, 1,500 miles from Capetown, forced him well off course. 'If ever I have nightmares they will be about that storm,' he says."

'The most astounding passage under sail that has ever been made by one man alone.' - The Times

224 pages. Illustrated with black & white and colour photographs and map on endpapers.

ISBN: 0 340 14920 5‎


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