Chay Blyth

In 1966, whilst still serving with The Parachute Regiment, Chay Blyth embarked on an adventure which would set his life on a completely new course.

Together with Capt John Ridgeway he rowed theAtlantic in, English Rose III, a 20ft open dory in 92 days. The epic voyage captured the imagination of a nation and a new hero was born.

Many adventures followed but the first solo non-stop circumnavigation of the globe from east to west against the prevailing winds and currents aboard British Steel in 1971/72 consolidated his position as the outstanding seaman of his generation.

In 1973/74 with a crew of paratroopers he embarked on the Whitbread Around the World Race aboard Great Britain II taking line honours. With Rob James aboard BrittanyFerries GB he won the two handed Transatlantic Race in 1981 setting a new record for the event.

He won The Round Britain and Ireland Race on “Brittany Ferries GB” in 1982 with Rob James.

In 1984 on Beafeater II whilst attempting to break the record fromNew York to San Francisco with Eric Blunn he was rescued after 19 hours in the water after capsizing off Cape Horn.

In 1986 on board Virgin Atlantic Challenger II he took the Blue Riband for the fastest Atlantic crossing with Richard Branson.

  • Ocean Adventurer
  • Rowing the Atlantic 1966
  • East to West non stop single handed 1970-71
  • The Whitbread Race 1973-74
  • Other races


Chay Blyth – Summary CV

1940 – Born –Hawick,Scotland.

1958 – Joined the Parachute Regiment.

1966 – Rowed across The Atlantic in 92 days in an open 20ft dory, “English Rose II” with Capt. John Ridgeway.  Awarded the BEM and voted Man of the Year..

1968 – Attempted to sail around the world aboard the 30ft yacht “Dyfiscus”.

1970-71 – Became the first person to sail non-stop single handed westwards around the world, aboard the yacht “British Steel”, taking 292 days.

1971 – Was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE). Voted Yachtsman of the Year and again Man of the Year.  Also awarded The Chichester Trophy.

1973 -74 – Skippered a crew of paratroopers in the yacht “Great Britain II”, which took line honours in the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race

1978 – Won the Two Handed Round Britain Race in the yacht “Great Britain IV” with Rob James. And came second in the Round the Island Race (IoW).

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 theNew York –San Francisco record attempt with Eric Blunn. Rescued by passing fishing boat after 19 hours in the water.

1985 – Co Skipper of “Virgin Atlantic I” with Richard Bransom on Blue Riband attempt.

1986 – Co Skipper of “Virgin Atlantic II” with Richard Bransom on successful Blue Riband crossing of The Atlantic.

1989 – Chay Blyth founded Challenge Business which was to re-shape global yacht racing opening it up to ordinary people and raising millions for charity in the process.

  • 1992-93 British Steel Challenge
  • 1996-97 BT Global Challenge
  • 2000-01 BT Global Challenge
  • 2004-05 Global Challenge

Challenge Business also launched the Trans Atlantic Rowing Race in 1997 and the Transat for Open 60s.

1990 – Attended six month course at theLondonBusinessSchool.

1997 – Chay Blyth knighted by the Queen for his services to yachting.

1997 – Honorary Doctorate of Law from theUniversity ofPortsmouth.

1998 – Honorary Doctorate of Technology from theUniversity ofPlymouth.

2000 – CharteredInstitute ofMarketing awards Chay Blyth it’s prestigious Companion of Honour.

2006 – Appointed Non-Executive Chairman of First Great Western Railway.

2008 – Appointed Chairman of FirstScot Railway Stakeholder Advisory Board