In 1971, Chay Blyth became the first person to sail non-stop westwards around the world – therefore against prevailing winds and currents. Blyth was a Parachute Regiment Sergeant by the age of 21 and in 1966, while still a soldier, he and Captain John Ridgeway rowed across the North Atlantic in 92 days in a 20 foot open rowing boat, for which he was awarded the British Empire Medal. Blyth set many further sailing records after leaving the army, such as skippering ‘Great Britain II’ to nine out of 12 trophies in the 1973-74 Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race. In 1981, he was also the two-handed Transatlantic Race winner with Rob James in ‘Brittany Ferries’, and co-skipper of the successful Blue Riband transatlantic attempt, Virgin Atlantic Challenger II, in 1986. Blyth was also successful in opening up the sport to those with no previous experience by launching events like the British Steel Challenge in 1989.