Born in Scotland in 1940, Sir Chay first shot to fame when he joined Captain John Ridgeway to row a 20 foot Open Dory across the North Atlantic from Cape Cod to the Aran Islands in just 92 days! This feat captured the British imagination and earned Sir Chay the British Empire Medal. He was also voted Man of the Year.
It didn't stop there. By 1971, he was the first person ever to sail non-stop around the world aboard a 59 foot ketch British Steel. The achievement was incredible. On returning home, he was awarded the CBE and the public took him to their hearts, voting him Man of the Year for a second time and Yachtsman of the Year as well.
His successes just kept mounting. When he skippered Great Britain II in the Whitbread Race of 1973/4, they won the elapsed time prize and a grand total of nine trophies out of the twelve available. In 1978, he won the Two-handed Round Britain and Ireland Race with Rob James in Great Britain IV and followed that in 1981 by winning the Two-handed Transatlantic Race with Rob James in Brittany Ferries and breaking the record. The same year he competed in the Whitbread Race again. He was 2nd in the 1982 Round Britain and Ireland Race and was co-skipper of the successful Blue Riband transatlantic attempt in 1986 on Virgin Atlantic Challenger III.
In 1989 he decided to give ordinary people the change to sail around the world, by setting up the British Steel Challenge, where no experience was needed to compete. This is just one example of the many races he has launched and created. Most recently, Sir Chay launched the New World Challenge in America and bought the World Cruising Club.
He was Knighted for services to sailing in 1997.