Sir Robin Knox-Johnston to compete in Round Britain and Ireland Race

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Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, 75, will compete in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, the second race on his Open 60 ahead of his participation in November’s French single-handed classic, the Route du Rhum. 

The British founder of the Clipper Race and first ever man to sail solo, non-stop around the world in 1968/69, will compete in his ninth RBI race on his yacht Grey Power alongside Simon Clay in the two-handed class.

The 1802-mile non-stop course organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club every four years starts on 10 August from Cowes, the Isle of Wight.

Simon Clay, 38, an associate of WhiteCap, was campaign manager for Sir Robin when he participated in the solo Velux 5 Oceans Race in 2006/7.  

Sir Robin said: “This race has some excellent entries and will provide some tough competition, but it makes for a perfect practice build up for my participation in the Route du Rhum in November. 

“I am very happy with how my newly-fitted out Open 60 is performing so far, but I look forward to testing it further on this race.” 

Sir Robin has competed in six of the Royal Western Yacht Club’s two-handed Round Britain and Ireland races, won it twice, raced in the inaugural Royal Ocean Racing Club’s crewed non-stop race in 1976 and won Class 1, and made a solo non-stop attempt on the record and failed by three hours 14 years ago. 

Simon Clay is co-founder of Whitecap, a brokerage and management company for performance sailing yachts, comprising the Artemis Ocean Racing Open 60 operations as well as other Open 60 race campaigns. 

He said: “Having worked as project manager for Sir Robin when he raced solo in the 2006/7 Velux 5 Oceans Race I know the race boat and Sir Robin extremely well. It is my first Round Britain and Ireland Race and it’s a nice opportunity to compete in a classic event.” 

In November, Sir Robin will compete in the tenth anniversary edition of the 3,500 mile Transatlantic Route du Rhum race from St Malo, France, to Guadeloupe which starts on 2 November 2014. 

Knox-Johnston last did this race in 1982 in his 70-foot catamaran Olympus, better known as Sea Falcon. He is the oldest participant entered so far at the age of 75. 

He is the chairman and founder of Clipper Ventures which runs the Clipper Race, the biannual event which sees amateur sailors from around the world completing a 40,000 mile global circumnavigation.