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Sir Charles (Chay) Blyth


1940 -

Yachtsman. Born in Hawick, the youngest of seven children. Blyth began his career at 16 as an apprentice in a local knitwear factory, but within two years he had joined the army, serving in the Parachute Regiment. He rose quickly to become the youngest sergeant in the history of the regiment at the age of just 21.

In 1966 Blyth, along with Captain John Ridgeway, took just 90 days to row across the North Atlantic Ocean, from Cape Cod (Massachusetts) to the Aran Islands (Ireland). He was awarded the British Empire Medal, and voted 'Man of the Year', in recognition of this achievement. Blyth left the army in 1968. In 1971, he became the first to sail single-handed and non-stop around the world, and was honoured with a CBE for his efforts. He went on to circumnavigating the world once again, this time eastwards and with a crew (1973-4). Subsequently, Blyth has won a number of yacht races, including the two-handed Round Britain race (1978), a record-breaking time in the two-handed Transatlantic race (1981) and the successful Blue Riband transatlantic attempt (1986).

In 1984 he was rescued after spending 19 hours in the water off Cape Horn when his yacht sank. he had to be rescued once again the following year, when the Virgin Atlantic Challenger sank in the Atlantic.

Blyth was knighted for his services to sailing in 1997. He was inducted as one of the first members of the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame in 2002 and now lives in England, where runs a yachting-challenge company, Challenge Business Ltd.


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