Richard Branson, Chay Blyth and the Blue Ribband – Extra Info
The artist attended at the suggestion of Tamzin Mitchell of Radio Cornwall.
Off Bishops’ Rock, Isles of Scilly, was and still is the finishing line for attempts at the Blue Ribband of the Atlantic, for the fastest Atlantic crossing. This record has been held by some very renowned ships, Cunard’s first “Mauretania” holding it for the longest, 22 years and the last holder being the SS United States.
Richard Branson’s first attempt was unsuccessful and this his second barely made it, needing some help from the Irish navy.
Virgin Atlantic Challenge 2 arriving in gathering gloom on a wet and windy finish line. The artist stood with the Fleet Street photographers and was the only one to successfully take colour photos in the damp and failing light. He produced a sketch on the boat and finished it as a watercolour during the press conference. This picture was duly signed by all the crew before they dispersed so is completely unique.
The Blue Ribband Trophy was not awarded to Virgin Challenger 2 or Richard Branson. After some debate it was decided his was not a commercial ship. The trophy continues to this day to be held by the super liner S.S. United States.