“The finish of the race was as hard as the beat down the English Channel” - Sir Robin Knox-Johnston
23 November 2014
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston has said yesterday's finish of the Route du Rhum race was as hard as the beat down the English Channel during the first 36 hours, when there were multiple abandonments in what some skippers described as 'Dantesque' conditions.
The Clipper Race Founder and Chairman, 75, finished third in the Rhum class of the Transatlantic solo race last night after winning a fierce battle for the final podium place.
Speaking from his Open 60 yacht Grey Power in Guadeloupe in the Caribbean, he describes the finish, the welcome reception and his race overall.
The finish of the race is as hard as the beat down the English Channel.
You have the flat calms in the lee of the island, accompanied by spectator boats, but once around the southern point, you are into a beat into a Force 6 easterly. I took my second reef before the point and was glad I did. It still took seven hours to get to the finish line, all the time looking astern for Wilfrid Clerton on Cap du Cap Location, but he didn't close the gap. so we got third.
The two boats ahead of me were sailed very well. I had hopes of getting second but the loss of the reacher killed that chance, still there is no shame in being beaten by someone good. We had some top level solo sailors in this class so I am pleased to have shown that their youth was not a great disadvantage to them and I can still get amongst them!
The reception was fantastic, fresh fruit and rum punch and then they gave me a gallon bottle of Rum. Not sure what to do with this as I don't see HM Customs allowing me to bring it back home. The Race Director took me in his RIB to my hotel where I got 10 hours straight sleep.
Now, deep cleaning the boat and tidying up the snake's honeymoon of reacher sheets, but constantly interrupted for autographs and photos. It's very hot and humid, but the people make up for it with their smiles and friendliness. Apart from no Jib, because I cannot get aloft to re-secure it, and a torn reacher, probably beyond repair, all is well aboard.
I plan to sail easily for Grenada on Wednesday, probably arrive Friday.
Once the boat is hauled out and put to bed, I'll fly home.
Read more on his third place result here.
Here is a video of Sir Robin approaching the finish line.
See pictures of Sir Robin's elation at the podium place here.
To read his race blogs, click here.
To follow him on Twitter, click here.
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