SIR CHAY BLYTH CBE BEM
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Sir Chay Blyth was born in Hawick in Scotland on 14th May 1940, the youngest of a family of five girls and two boys. At the age of 15, he left school and went to work for a local knitwear factory as an apprentice frameworker. This career was short-lived as, aged 18 he signed up for The Parachute Regiment where he rose quickly through the ranks, becoming a sergeant at the age of 21 the Regiment’s youngest ever platoon sergeant.
Sir Chay Blyth
1966 Whilst in the Army, Chay Blyth together with Captain John Ridgeway rowed across the North Atlantic in a 20ft Open Dory from Cape Cod to the Aran Islands. After successfully completing this in 92 days Chay arrived back home to a heroes welcome and as a result was awarded the British Empire Medal.
In 1971 aboard the 59ft ketch British Steel, Chay Blyth became the first person to sail non-stop around the world against the prevailing winds and currents - westwards - a feat no one had previously attempted. This “impossible” voyage was described by The Times newspaper in London as "The most outstanding passage ever made by one man alone". In recognition of his achievement, he was made a Commander of The British Empire (CBE) and was voted Yachtsman of the Year by the Yachting Journalists Association. For this achievement he was voted Yachtsman of the Year and awarded the Chichester Trophy. Since then he has accumulated a staggering list of racing successes including:
1973/74 In the yacht Great Britain II, with a crew of paratroopers, won first place in the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race.
1978 In the yacht Great Britain IV won the Round Britain Race. In the yacht Great Britain IV came second in the Round the Island Race (IOW).
1981 In the yacht Brittany Ferries GB won the Two Handed Trans-Atlantic Race with companion Rob James breaking the existing record. In the yacht Brittany Ferries GB came second in the Round the Island Race (IOW).
1982 In the yacht Brittany Ferries GB came second overall, first in Class I Round Britain and Ireland Race.
1984 In the trimaran Beefeater II, with companion Eric Blunn, capsized off Cape Horn during New York - San Francisco record attempt and spent nineteen hours in the water before being rescued.
1985 Organised the Silk Cut Multihull Challenge Race from Brighton to London finishing at Tower Bridge. Also, Co Skipper on Virgin Atlantic Challenger I.
1986 Co Skipper on the successful Blue Riband -Virgin Atlantic Challenger II.
In 1989 Chay founded Challenge Business to organise the British Steel Challenge. This event allowed ordinary people to sail around the world in a professionally organised Race.
In 1990 Chay attended a sixth month residential course at the London Business School.
1996 The success of the British Steel Challenge was followed by an even more successful BT Global Challenge 1996/97, which led to BT sponsoring the Race once again for the BT Global Challenge 2000/1. Challenge Business has also launched a series of ocean rowing and shorter sailing events, for volunteers and professional sailors, and acquired World Cruising Club.
1997 In 1997, Sir Chay was Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to sailing. Sir Chay received an Honorary Doctorate of Law from the University of Portsmouth. Sir Chay also launched the Atlantic Rowing Race where thirty teams set out from Tenerife to Barbados. In 2001 fifty teams will again follow in the same footsteps.
2000 The Chartered Institute of Marketing awarded The Companion of Honour to Sir Chay in 2000 for his services to the Profession of Marketing. Sir Chay is also Chairman of Inspiring Performance. He lives and works in Gloucestershire with his daughter Samantha (32) and second wife, Felicity.
He has now launched the New World Challenge in America, Open 60s L’Atlantique Challenge and has recently acquired the World Cruising Club.
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QUOTE: "Seize the opportunity of a lifetime in the lifetime of the opportunity".
Chay Blyth is the inspiration behind Challenge Business. It was the first two of the above events that were to provide the seed for Sir Chay to create Challenge Business in 1989 and launch its first event British Steel Challenge the following year. The British Steel Challenge took place in 1992-3 to critical acclaim from journalists, sponsors and participants and changed the face of yachting forever.
It was these two events that were to provide the seed for Sir Chay to create Challenge Business in 1989 and launch its first event British Steel Challenge the following year. The British Steel Challenge took place in 1992-3 to critical acclaim from journalists, sponsors and participants and changed the face of yachting forever.
The event uniquely married the needs of sponsors for an inspirational marketing platform with participants looking for the adventure of a lifetime. This business model continues today and it was from this first event, that Challenge Business has grown into what is now a successful sports marketing organisation offering a portfolio of events to corporations and consumers alike, and also in conjunction with the official race charity, Save the Children, for whom over £2 million has been raised. The company continues to grow and develop with numerous exciting projects in the pipeline.
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