Sir Robin Knox-Johnston working on Grey Power ahead of Route du Rhum qualifying passage

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Sir Robin Knox-Johnston is working on his Open 60, Grey Power, ahead of a Route du Rhum qualifying passage he hopes to start at the end of next week.

Sir Robin was forced to retire from the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland last week after splitting the mainsail.

He has found another mainsail from one of the Velux Open 60 yachts that fits but it is missing the right sized batons.

Sir Robin hopes to borrow a pair of batons from other Open 60 owners.

Sir Robin will do the 1000 mile Route du Rhum qualifying passage with the old mainsail, but is getting a new one made with Bainbridge Sails.

“I am hoping to sort the batons and then be able to get on with the qualifier next week. Then I’ll quietly work on her," he said.

“When the new mainsail is ready I’ll go to sea for four or five days and test it.

“It was very disappointing to have to withdraw from the Round Britain and Ireland Race, but I am happy with the testing we did.

“The boat was going well and it felt comfy. The conditions and weather forecast was perfect. We were averaging 14 knots and reached 21 knots.

“I am happy with where I am with the preparation for the Route du Rhum.

“A lot of things have had to be taken apart, including all of the blocks.

“I am looking forward to getting out there on the start line in November. My boat is not as fast as the more modern ones. I’m not going to beat them, but I want to have a boat that I have confidence in that it will get me to the other side.”

The Route du Rhum starts from St Malo, France, on 2 November, with entrants racing to Guadeloupe in the Caribbean. 

Sir Robin will compete in the Rhum class in the tenth anniversary edition of the 3,500 mile Transatlantic race.

He last did this race in 1982 in his 70-foot catamaran Olympus, better known as Sea Falcon.