Sir Robin Knox-Johnston set out from Falmouth, England on 14th June 1968 aboard his tiny 32ft ketch Suhaili and returned 312 days later to become the first person to sail single-handed non-stop around the world.
It was a time when the Flat Earth Society was still in existance, and even seasoned yachtsman thought it to be an impossible feat. For everyone else it was; Robin was the sole finisher among 9 starters to complete this 30,000 mile supreme endurance race, organised by the Sunday Times newspaper.
Unlike earlier sailingpioneers like Francis Chichester and Alec Rose, who both received knighthoods after completing solo circumnavigations with one stop, Knox-Johnston was awarded only a CBE. He says now it was because he had criticised the state of the Country under the Wilson Government when he got home.
A likeable maverick and consumate seaman, Knox-Johnston has continued setting records ever since, becoming an example to thousands of young yachtsmen and women who have followed in his wake.
In 1977/8 he skippered the British maxi Heath’s Condor to line honours in two legs of the Whitbread Round the World Race.
1994 saw him co-skipper the giant catamaran ENZA New Zealand with the late Peter Blake to take the Jules Verne Trophy in 1994 for the fastest circumnavigation around the world - a feat that finally won him his knighthood.
In 2006/7 and at the age of 68, he set out on yet another solo circumnavigation and finished a highly credited 4th in the Velux 5 Oceans race. Uniquely, Knox-Johnston has been voted UK Yachtsman of the Year three times, was named ISAF sailor of the Year 1994, and in 2007 was one of the first inductees into the ISAF Hall of Fame.
As Chairman of Clipper Ventures plc, Sir Robin now inspires others to race around the world in a fleet of identical yachts.