While still in the army, Sir Chay rowed across the Atlantic in 1966, together with John Ridgway, and two years later, he competed in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race.
He was the first person to sail non-stop westwards around the world in 1971 on the 59’ yacht, British Steel, taking 292 days, for which he was awarded a CBE.
He openly admits that when he set off in 1970, he knew nothing about navigation or sailing and thought he would teach himself as he went along.
The Times later described his voyage as ‘the most outstanding passage ever made by one man alone’, and thousands came to greet him on his return.
Blyth’s next challenge was the inaugural Whitbread Round the World Race in 1973-74, where his yacht, Great Britain II won line honours, setting a bench-mark record for the circumnavigation of 144 days.
He skippered the same yacht again in 1981-82, the third Whitbread Race, but this time Great Britain II was renamed United Friendly and the 77’ yacht went on to compete in five consecutive Whitbread races, something that is hard to imagine in today’s professional era.