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Sailor who made history in round-the-world race returns to Cornwall

robin knox-johnston

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 5:44pm 11th June 2018.

The sailor who made history in a round the world race has returned to Cornwall.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston was the first to finish the first 30,000-mile Sunday Times Golden Globe - 50 years ago.

It was the 14th June 1968 that Sir Robin set out from Falmouth in his yacht, Suhaili, in an attempt to become the first man to complete a solo non-stop circumnavigation.

The epic voyage took 312 days, with little human contact or communication with the outside world.

His only contact, his radio, malfunctioned within two months of the voyage and it wasn't until he was off the shores of New Zealand that he found out he was in the lead and only four of the nine participants were still in the race.

His next contact with the outside world was just outside of the Azores, where he managed to get a message to Falmouth to say that he would be arriving within the next two weeks.

On April 22 1969, Sir Robin entered Falmouth Harbour as a modern hero of our times as the sole finisher, leaving behind him a trail of broken boats and spirits.

His first meal? A well-earned steak, followed by lemon meringue pie at The Chainlocker, which still stands at the water's edge today.

Now he's back to mark the special anniversary, along with two other historic solo circumnavigator vessels, Sir Francis Chichester's Gipsy Moth IV, and Sir Alec Rose's Lively Lady.

Speaking of the moment he set sail from Falmouth all of those years ago, he told Pirate FM: "I don't think people really grasp it, but when you are setting off on something like this, actually you just want to get going.

"You want to get away, you've said your goodbyes and that's always quite emotional, but you actually want to get to sea and sort your boat out and get sailing.

"So, you're actually focused on that."

He also described how he hoped more youngsters would get involved with the sport, helping them to build a good range of life skills.

He said: "All the things we want to give our young people are there in sailing.

"The more of them we can get out sailing, the better.

"Go and do it - find someone to teach you, find someone to crew for.

"Go out there and learn to sail, because I can assure you it is the most marvellous sport."

Today, 20 sailors are due to enter the Golden Globe race, many of which will join Sir Robin and the Suhaili for their onward journey on 14th June, to the start of the race.

The town has also welcomed a flotilla of French yachts to support this landmark Falmouth event.

All yachts will be moored at the Falmouth Haven Marina and a series of exhibitions and talks are planned in the town's creative venues during the three-day event.

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