There is in Sir Francis Chichester a restless spirit never satisfied with his achievements. Throughout his adventurous life this quiet Englishman has sought to challenge odds that other, younger, stronger men have declared insuperable. As a pilot, as a yachtsman, as a navigator, even as a man who broke the grip of cancer, Sir Francis has always been a pioneer. Where he has led, others have followed: but when he has triumphed, he has at once sought a new and greater challenge.
This is a book about such a challenge. With the feasibility of long-distance voyages proven beyond doubt—not least by his own remarkable circumnavigation in 1966—Sir Francis turned at once to the next great barrier facing the single-hander, the “speed barrier”, setting himself the staggering target of sailing 4,000 miles between two fixed points on the earth’s surface in 20 days—an average of 200 miles a day whatever the wind, whatever the weather.
In this book he tells of the planning, the calculations and the sheer hard work that in January 1971 led him and Gipsy Moth V to their “starting line” for a race which is the single-hander’s “4-Minute Mile” and Marathon, combined in one gruelling, non-stop, murderous ocean race. This for a man—a unique, incredible man—in his seventieth year, was the romantic challenge.