'Age has nothing to do with it. I am fitter than most', says the 75-year-old British sailing star
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, aged 75, has departed Portsmouth on his
Open 60 Grey Power ahead of the start
of French classic race the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe.
It will be the second time the British yachtsman
and first ever man to sail solo, non-stop around the world in 1968/69, has
competed in the 3,500 mile Transatlantic contest.
The Clipper Race team waved off the legendary
yachtsman from Gosport on board a Clipper 70.
After enjoying sailing with Clipper Race crew in
the 2013 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race which formed part of the
circumnavigation, Knox-Johnston decided to return to competitive solo racing.
Knox-Johnston will be the oldest competing sailor
at the St Malo start line on 2 November. He will be racing in the same boat he
sailed round the world in during the 2006/7 Velux Five Oceans Race aged 68.
The Clipper Race founder said: ‘I am fit, I feel very strong and I am eager to get
out there,” said Knox-Johnston.
‘Age has nothing to do with it. I am fitter than
most. I have worked hard to get my boat ready and have been out sailing a lot
for practice, including doing the Round the Island Race.
‘Racing solo on the ocean is where I feel most at
home. The Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe – is a great race to a lovely
island. I won’t win but I shall have a lot of fun participating.’
Knox-Johnston created the Clipper Race to provide a
platform for non-professional sailors to experience the thrill of ocean racing
and for many, a circumnavigation. The biennial event has inspired more than
3,000 people to compete in what is now the longest ocean race around the planet
at more than 40,000 miles since it was established in 1996.
Robin is the only British
sailor to have won ‘Yachtsman of the Year’ three times. He has sailed
around the world four times, twice solo, including the Golden
Globe historic circumnavigation in 1968/69, and once winning the Jules
Trophy in 1994. He last competed in the Route du
Rhum in 1982, on the 70-foot catamaran Sea
Picture credit: Clipper Ventures
Sir Robin on Grey Power. Credit: onEdition