British Steel (yacht)

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British Steel is a 59 ft (18 m) ketch famous for a circumnavigation of the globe "the wrong way" (i.e. from east to west, against prevailing winds and currents) by Chay Blyth in 1970/71.

The entire race was completed in 292 days. Described by The Times as "The most outstanding passage ever made by one man alone", under the headline "Boat of Steel - Man of Iron",[citation needed] the feat inspired two generations of ocean voyagers and adventurers, forming the basis of the 1992 British Steel Challenge and the subsequent BT Global Challenges.[citation needed]

British Steel is currently moored in Dartmouth, Devon and undergoing restoration.


British Steel was designed by Devon-based naval architect Robert Clark, and built in 1970 by Phillip and Son, at Noss, on the River Dart.[1] Launched on 19 August of that year, after a record build time of four months, British Steel was described by Don Holme in his book The Circumnavigators as representing the absolute pinnacle of modern yacht design and construction at the time, particularly with regard to the use of steel in the building of her hull.

It was primarily for this reason, when approached by the erstwhile adventurer and "publicity-yachtist" Chay Blyth, then state-owned British Steel Corporation (later Corus) agreed to sponsor his plan.

Purpose-built to achieve what was widely regarded as impossible, the design and construction of British Steel cost £20,000. Boasting state-of-the-art electronics, she also featured a host of other innovative features to complete her voyage single-handed.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "George Philip & Son - Shipyard - Floating Dry Dock - 1938 / 1939 - Dartmouth". Dartmouth Museum. Retrieved 12 May 2012. Philip & Son had a substantial business ... the shipbuilding and ship repair business ceased ... The last vessel built there was British Steel, launched on 19 August 1970 for Chay Blythe's reverse solo circumnavigation in 1970/71.