46th anniversary of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s Golden Globe victory

22 April 2015

Forty-six years ago today, Clipper Race chairman and founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston finished victorious in the Sunday Times Golden Globe race to complete the first nonstop solo circumnavigation.

The sole finisher out of nine entrants, Sir Robin crossed the finish line off Falmouth, UK on 22 April 1969 aged 30 after 312 days at sea.

With none of the modern technological aids available to sailors nowadays, Sir Robin was asked where he had come from on his 32-foot yacht Suhaili, to which he replied ‘Falmouth’.

“I still think back to that day often,” reflects Sir Robin, now 76. “Witnessing the amount of boats that came out to see me across the finish line and then the crowds on shore was very special. People said a nonstop solo circumnavigation couldn't be done by man or boat, but that only spurred me on more. The challenge was irresistible.

"To be able to say you were the first to do something on a planet of seven billion is nice. It changed my life. I left as a young ambitious bloke and came back a completely different person.

“Having competed in Transatlantic solo race the Route du Rhum in November 2014 after a break from competitive solo racing, I was again taken back to that first voyage.

“My love of going to sea solo has not ceased, neither has my appetite for adventure.”

Following his first circumnavigation, Sir Robin skippered Condor to Line Honours in two legs of the 1977/8 Whitbread Race; co-skippered Enza New Zealand with the late Peter Blake to take the Jules Verne Trophy in 1994 for the fastest circumnavigation of the world; and completed the Velux5Oceans solo round the world race in fourth position in 2006/7 at the age of 68.

Sir Robin was knighted in 1995 and has been the UK's Yachtsman of the Year four times. He was ISAF sailor of the Year with Peter Blake in 1994 and in 2007 was one of the first six inductees into the ISAF Hall of Fame.

In 1996 he created the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race to offer people from all walks of life and ages the experience of ocean racing together with the opportunity of completing a circumnavigation.

More than 4,000 people have since been introduced to sailing through the unique event which is the longest in the world at 40,000 miles.

It is not too late to apply for the 2015-16 edition. To find out more, click here.

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