Sir Robin Knox-Johnston ‘ecstatic’ with third in Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe race
22 November 2014
British adventurer and Clipper Race founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, 75, has finished solo Transatlantic race the Route du Rhum in third place in the Rhum class.
Sir Robin crossed the finish line on his Open 60 Grey Power at Pointe à Pitre at 4.52pm local time/8.52pm GMT after 20 days, 7 hours, 52 minutes and 22 seconds at sea. He managed to hold off rival Wilfrid Clerton, who is 20 miles from the finish in fourth.
The first man to sail solo, nonstop round the world in 1968/9 said he was happy to finish the 3,542 mile race after the ‘intense’ contest for the final podium place.
"I am absolutely over the moon, ecstatic to get third.
"I didn't expect to get third when I started the race. I was up against some damn good competition with lighter, more modern boats than mine that are easier to manage. My boat is a hard boat to work. The top International solo sailors were racing and it was tough. If you come in third you feel you have not done badly.
"I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was quite fantastic. There were three of us battling for the second and third spot. I got competitive and that was tiring. It came down to boat speed. That's a fast boat I've got. I managed to hold onto my lead but I couldn't beat Andrea Mura despite catching him up.
"I was beaten by two very good people. I congratulate Anne and Andrea.
"And thank you very much everyone for your support. It's been fantastic. It has helped me push on harder than I might otherwise have done. I have had a wonderful reception in Guadeloupe too and look forward to spending a few days here after a good shower and rest.
"If I said in Saint Malo I felt 48 then perhaps tonight I feel 50 but no more!"
Sir Robin also said he will be back for the next race in 2018 with a smaller boat.
He sailed the 3,542 mile (Rhumb line) course at an average speed of 7.26 knots, but in reality, he actually did 4,416 miles at an average of 9.05 knots.
He finished 3 days 00 hours 46 minutes and 19 seconds behind the Rhum Class winner Anner Caseneuve on her Multi50 Trimaran Aneo.
Since the race started in Saint Malo, France on 2 November, Sir Robin reeled in his competitors moving up from 14th place. He had a stimulating battle with three other yachts for the final podium in the last week which saw light winds, rain squalls and big wind shifts.
Sir Robin was the oldest competitor in the race at 75.
He added: "The low point was the English Channel and last night was one to forget, it was pretty much pandemonium at times. I tore the reaching sail and had a Chinese gybe."
Sir Robin has raced in the French classic 32 years after last competing when he finished in 14th place in a time of 20 days, 20 hours, 20 minutes. .
He has made a return to competitive solo ocean racing after competing in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race with one of his Clipper Race crews in 2013.
He became jealous of watching his Clipper Race crews set off at the start of each new leg during their circumnavigation and wished he was racing himself.
Sir Robin raced on the same boat he sailed round the world in during the 2006/7 Velux Five Oceans Race aged 68.
Here is a video of Sir Robin approaching the finish line.
See pictures of Sir Robin's elation at the podium place here.
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