Aviator and sailor Sir Francis Chichester is best known for being the first and fastest person to sail around the globe single-handedly in The Gipsy Moth IV. Following this achievement he wrote several books and made films about his sailing experiences.
Born in Devon and educated at Marlborough College, Chichester emigrated to New Zealand at the age of 18 and spent ten years in forestry, mining and property development. On his return to England he learned to fly, and in the original Gipsy Moth seaplane he became the first person to complete an East-West solo flight across the Tasman Sea, for which he was awarded the inaugural Amy Johnson Memorial Trophy.
Chichester wrote many popular books on his air adventures, and during WWII he wrote the manual that single-man fighter pilots used to navigate across Europe. In 1964 Chichester published his autobiography, the bestselling The Lonely Sea and the Sky, and was knighted three years later for ‘individual achievement and sustained endeavour in the navigation and seamanship of small craft’.
Chichester used his navigation experience to create a successful map-making company, Francis Chichester Ltd, which today still publishes pocket guides and maps which are sold throughout the world.