Sir Robin Knox-Johnston makes final preparations ahead of solo Transatlantic race

RKJ on board Grey power

RKJ 9767

Clipper Race founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, 75, is carrying out final preparations on his yacht Grey Power ahead of his return to competitive solo racing in Sunday’s Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe race start.

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The oldest competitor in the French solo Transatlantic race has had a busy week on board his Open 60 yacht in Saint Malo, Brittany. The media spotlight has been upon Sir Robin with many interviews taking place, and he was also given the medal of the honour of the City of Saint Malo by the Mayor.

Sir Robin is now doing last minute victualing and will spend time with family later. The course and safety briefing took place on Thursday and the final weather briefing will happen Saturday.

“There has been an incredible atmosphere here in the race village all week with hundreds of thousands of visitors. It is great to be back here 32 years after I first did my Route du Rhum race.

“I have enjoyed seeing friends and fellow competitors including Loick Peyron and Francois Gabart. Now I am ready to go and can’t wait to get out there. I will be taking it easy as far as Cap Finisterre while I negotiate the shipping lanes, and then I will start to race harder.”

Sir Robin will leave the basin at Saint Malo at 0230 GMT for a 0300 lock on Sunday ahead of the 1300 race start.

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.

Sir Robin had become jealous of watching his Clipper Race crews sail off at the start of new legs during their round the world voyage.

Knox-Johnston created the Clipper Race in 1995 to provide a platform for anyone of any age and any walk of life to experience the thrill of ocean racing and for many, a circumnavigation.

“The great thing about ocean racing is that you can do it at any age, and that’s what I want to prove through my participation. In my head I feel 48. I feel younger and fitter than most and am ready to race,” Sir Robin added.

He is racing in the same boat he sailed round the world in during the 2006/7 Velux Five Oceans Race, aged 68.

The biennial Clipper Race event has inspired more than 3,000 amateur sailors 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.

Sir 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 Verne Trophy in 1994. He last competed in the Route du Rhum in 1982, on the 70-foot catamaran Sea Falcon.

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